As you gather information for your tax preparer, keep these tips in mind:
1. Separate your major farm activities into separate businesses (Enterprises). If you have multiple farm entities, each should have its own bank account and cash flow statement. If you have multiple activities under one entity, keep separate records so you can track profitability. Livestock enterprises should be a different cash flow statement from grain, for example.
2. Use accounting software to keep your farm financial records organized. Very few people (these days) are careful and detail-oriented enough to keep accurate paper ledger records. If you use a computer for anything, use a computer to keep track of your financial records. Your lender will thank you and your tax preparer will thank you.
3. Keep farm and personal income and expenses separate. Even if you think you can deduct some personal expenses as farm expenses, keep separate records and ask your tax preparer what is deductible.
4. If you own farm ground for rent, or if you rent farm ground to farm, keep seperate records of each “farm” and “tenant” (or landlord). This will both help you track profitability for each farm and allow your tax preparer to record rental information correctly on the tax return.
5. Consider a “pre-tax” meeting (or phone call) with your tax preparer before the end of the year. Check to see whether there are any changes in tax law that will affect your bottom line. Some of my clients ask for a “dry run” tax return before the end of the year to check that they are on track with cash flow as the year draws to a close.
Bonus Tip: Ask questions throughout the year. As you think of questions, or as you consider a major purchase or payoff of debt, call your tax preparer to see what she might suggest. After the fact is too late for spending money if you don’t need to (or missing an opportunity for a timely deduction). Your tax preparer can keep notes about the conversation and make sure that it gets into the conversation at tax time.
If you don’t use these methods for organizing your financial records, now is the time to start. Your tax preparer can help you get set up to be more organized for 2017. It will save you both time and money. If it takes me a long time to organize your records when I prepare your taxes, I charge you for it. My organized clients have a much lower tax prep bill.
All I need is a pre-teen or teenager to drive the snow shovel. And a hoverboard.
Have you made your New Year’s Resolutions, yet? Regardless, check out this short essay from Timothy Snyder, the Bird White Housum Professor of History at Yale University.
The author provides compelling food for thought as we move forward into 2017. This is definitely worth the read and worth thinking about.
Chipotle is my favorite flavor. I now have an appreciation for the time and effort that goes into the production of Tabasco.
Who knew? Now that I know the formula, tune in next year for my #1 Christmas hit.
Like a Candle in Berlin suggests an interesting interpretation of our community response to terrorist attacks. What’s more, it suggests that humanity, while disregarding religion as being difficult and inconvenient, still seeks some sort of spiritual comfort in times of crisis and after senseless tragedy. The author also gently suggests that this is a simplistic and naive response, which, while probably does no harm, also does not do much good, other than to provide a little self-assurance of our own good nature and pure intentions.
I like that the author notes that this is not a terminal naivete, though he does not speculate on the motivation that will be necessary to snap us out of our need for candles for comfort and into mature action (whatever that might be).
While the author does not go this far, his article can lead one to the conclusion that rejection of the discipline of religion in exchange for the easy, lost-cost, no-obligation form of spirituality is a step backward in humanity’s maturity. This is consistent with our current culture of “Snowflakes” who aren’t mature enough to exist in the free and open discussion found in college environment without sensitivity warnings, and with our society’s general response of instant offense and violent response to viewpoints different from our own, rather than the more difficult and disciplined path of encouraging open discussion and making an effort to use education and understanding to resolve differences (or, which is perceived as worse yet, learning to live in peace with people who hold different viewpoints from our own).
Yes, I recognize that this is a broad conclusion based upon a single article. I also realize that this opinion might be offensive to those of a spiritual-but-not-religious persuasion. I hope only to generate thoughtful discussion, and I welcome discussion that might dispel my conclusion.
Thanks to Maggie’s Farm for posting the link to this very thoughtful article by Theodore Dalrymple, Dietrich Weismann Fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a contributing editor of City Journal, a magazine published by that institute.
Christmas and the holidays are the most festive and romantic time of year. 43% of engagements happen between November and January, with the top proposal dates as Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, and Valentine’s Day. (These believable but unsourced statistics were found on Wedding Wire and Elite Daily).
For farm families, the addition of a “non-blood” member of the family causes mixed feelings. Of course, you want to be happy that your loved one found a loved one, but because of the high divorce rate (3.2 divorces per 1,000 people in the US, according to the CDC) this new member of the family is also a new and scary risk to the farm operation.
Prenuptial Agreements (Prenups) are a good idea for any marriage, but are especially important for farm families. If you read the farm planning material I post on this website, you know that my mantra is “discussion, discussion, discussion” when it comes to farm planning. Full disclosure applies to the incoming spouse, too. While you might not want the newest “outlaw” in the family to know the finer details of your business, you also don’t want him (or her) to learn of the extent of your farm operation during the middle of divorce, when compassion and understanding is not usually part of the process.
Prenups offer an “eyes wide open” approach to asset management in a marriage. Where a farm kid may own or inherit substantial farm assets, what happens to those assets in the event of a divorce can discussed and agreed before the marriage occurs. In Indiana, once you are married, it is considered to be against public policy to make those decisions after the rings are exchanged.
Attorney Polly Dobbs, my colleague in Peru, Indiana, and frequent contributor to Farm Journal, has a terrific no-nonsense approach to prenups and farmers.
Below is data which supports what I’ve long suspected – that my children are not positioned to make more money over their lifetime than I am. My generation is the last to achieve that part of the American Dream.
From The American Dream, Quantified at Last, by NYT op-ed columnist David Leonhardt, the average American born in 1940 (which would refer to my parents and other early Baby Boomers) was 92% likely to earn more than his or her parents. Today, the average American born in 1980 is only 50% likely. My expectation is that children born in the ’90’s (which would be my children) are even less likely.
If you read the column, also check out the comments. One in particular struck me: For young people, being debt-free is the “new wealthy.”
See… Math is important.
I know people who are clever enough (and have access to a quality 3D printer) to build this for me for Christmas. (Hint, hint)
The sundial in action (less then 2 minutes):
The math and programming behind it (15-minute video)
And… if you want to see an insane 17x17x17 Rubic’s cube solving video (done by human hand and brain):
And… so insane that only a computer can do it:
Check out OKGO’s newest video. The way they manipulate time and perspective to capture a moment is amazing.
And, check out the “behind the scenes” video to see the thinking and planning that went into the video:
Because – lawlatte.