April 2008  
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Volume 5 Issue 4   www.offassist.com
A Momentary Respite

April is always a month of mixed emotions and never more so than this year.

April 1 marked the end of my term as IVAA president. It has been a busy, wild ride, and I am so glad I let Tom convince me to say Yes! to the job, but it's been a tiring year, too.

April also includes, well, April 15. Tax Day in the U.S. and one that induces many last minute frantic calls to and among financial professionals, myself included. April 16 is kind of like February 1st for me, a day I take off for my own sanity after the insanity right before the big deadline. Have I mentioned lately how glad I am that I just support other tax pros and don't actually do income taxes myself?

The plus side to April? The 7th Annual IVAA VA Summit! At the end of the month I get to head to the Carolinas to spend some time with my mom then go to the Summit. I have attended several of these live conferences now, and I always come away with so much more than what I spend to get there. If you're an IVAA member, or just a VA looking to learn more about your industry, you really ought to come!

Now... Back to the grindstone!

In this issue...

15 Interesting Facts About the IRS
by Roni Deutch

1. When it was first created, the IRS was known as the Bureau of Internal Revenue. In the 1950's the name was changed to the Internal Revenue Service.

2. The initial income tax was only 3% tax on individuals making over $800. Today the top tax bracket consists of a 35% tax.

3. The IRS was created by President Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War to help pay for the military expenses.

4. In order for the IRS to print the necessary forms and documents over 300,000 trees are cut down every year.

5. The IRS collected $2.2 trillion in 2006, with $1.2 trillion coming from just federal income taxes.

6. Prior to the introduction of the Taxpayer Bill of Rights in 1998, the burden of proof was put entirely on taxpayers, meaning taxpayers had to prove themselves innocent.

7. The IRS sends out an average 8 billion page of paper every tax season. If all the pieces of paper were laid out end-to-end, it would wrap around the earth 28 times.

8. Over 229 million income tax returns were filed with the IRS in 2006.

9. The federal government spends $200 billion per year on federal tax compliance, which is more money than it takes to produce all of the cars in the United States.

10. The IRS employs over 114,000 people. That's over double as many as the CIA and five times more than the FBI.

11. The United States tax systems is widely known for being confusing and difficult to understand. Therefore, over 60% of taxpayers seek professional help preparing their tax returns.

12. The average family pays over 38% of their total income to the IRS, which is more than the average family spends on food, clothing, and shelter combined.

13. The IRS has a whistleblowers program designed to help catch tax evaders. In 2005 they paid over $27 million to informants that resulted in nearly $350 million in revenue.

14. The federal government spends about $10 billion per year to pay the IRS's 114,000 employees.

15. Tax Day, the date when tax returns must be filed with the IRS usually lands on April 15. However, if the 15th is a weekend or holiday, Tax Day is moved to the next business day.

Article courtesy of www.articlesbase.com

The Tax Lady Roni Deutch and her law firm Roni Lynn Deutch, A Professional Tax Corporation have been helping taxpayers across the nation settle their IRS wage garnishments for over seventeen years.

QuickBooks Tip
Q: We enter debit and credit card charges into QuickBooks daily from our online activity. When the statement arrives, some of the amounts are different. Do you know why?

A: When working from online banking or credit card activity lists, be careful if the transaction you are entering from is identified as pending. Pending transactions have not been fully processed by the bank. Some examples of common pending transactions that cause errors are:
  • A pre-authorized "test" charge to verify your account as you set up an automatic bill pay. The charge disappears from your statement once the account is verified.
  • Gasoline purchases. When a debit card is used as a credit card to buy gasoline, frequently only $1.00 is pre-authorized, just to verify the account is valid. The actual amount of the purchase may take 2-5 days to show up and clear online.
  • Restaurant tabs. The pending charge frequently appears as the amount of your meal without tip. Once the charge has been processed, the statement will show the higher total that includes the amount of the tip.
For all of these reasons, and many other since these are just a few examples, it is always best to wait and enter transactions once they have been fully processed.
Tax Deadlines
April 15
- US Individual Income Tax Return, Form 1040
- US Fiduciary Income Tax Return, Form 1041
- US Partnership Return of Income, Form 1065
- IRS Monthly payroll tax deposits due for March issued payroll

April 20 - Texas Sales & Use Tax Return due for monthly and quarterly filers

April 30
- Employer's Quarterly Payroll Tax Report(s) Form 941
- Employer's Quarterly TWC (Texas Workforce Commission)

May 15 - Texas Franchise Tax Return

May 15 - IRS Monthly payroll tax deposits due for April issued payroll

May 20 - Texas Sales & Use Tax Return due for monthly filers
Tech Talk With Tom...
Picture This

So a customer just sent you their logo. They want you to use it in their new presentation. They also want some editing to improve the image quality, things like making the white background transparent. The only problem is they sent you the logo as part of a Word document!

Never fear! You can get that logo, picture, or other graphic out of the Word document. Not only can you get it out of the document, you can also return the picture to its original resolution if it was scaled down to fit the Word doc.

Here's how:

First Method:
  • Open the Word document.
  • High-light the image, right-click it and select "Copy"
  • Open your favorite graphics editing program
  • Select "Edit", "Paste"
  • You should now be able to save the graphic as an actual image file.
Second Method:
  • Open the Word document.
  • Choose "File", "Save As", and select "Web page" from the drop-down menu.
  • Word automatically creates new graphics files from the embedded graphics.
The resolution achieved in the first method is better than from the second. But if the first method doesn't work for you, or if you don't have a graphics editing program, the second method will produce a workable graphics file.

There you have it. You can not only do the work that you were hired for, now you can also make your client's day by providing them with an original copy of a graphics file they thought long gone!

Tom Beauchamp is the marketing and tech expert behind OffAssist. He can be reached at tom@offassist.com.
Spotlight On...
Kelly Colby-Nunez

As a spa customer, Kelly Colby-Nunez was never quite satisfied with her treatments. Sure, some part of her looked or felt better for a little while, but there always seemed to be something missing. Realizing that it was attention to the individual and a more holistic approach, Kelly went into the business herself.

Kelly Colby-Nunez is now a licensed aesthetician and detox specialist. She works with her partners at Aesthetically Yours to provide a whole patient approach to beauty, combining long-accepted alternative practices with the best of modern beauty technology.

One of Kelly's goals is also to reach out to others in the spa and wellness industry. As part of that goal she started another business, AY Wellness, as a venue for teaching others her methods and best practices and sharing her philosophy of beauty and health maintenance.
Have you nursed a secret longing to be in the spotlight, center-stage, all eyes on you?

If you would like to be featured in the OffAssist spotlight column, and have not been featured in the past twelve months, contact Candy@OffAssist.com and we'll see if we can put you in the limelight.

Humor: The Art Collector
A famous art collector is walking through the city when he notices a mangy cat lapping milk from a saucer in the doorway of a store and does a double take.

He knows that the saucer is extremely old and very valuable, so he walks casually into the store and offers to buy the cat for two dollars.

The store owner replies, "I'm sorry, but the cat isn't for sale."

The collector says, "Please, I need a hungry cat around the house to catch mice. I'll pay you 20 dollars for that cat."

"Sold," the store owner says and hands over the cat.

The collector continues, "Hey, for the twenty bucks I wonder if you would throw in that old saucer. The cat's used to it and it'll save me from having to get a dish."

The store owner replied, "Sorry buddy, but that's my lucky saucer. So far this week I've sold thirty-eight cats."

Have an article you'd like to write for our monthly newsletter or want to be spotlighted? Have a QuickBooks question or something you'd like to see in the Tech Tip?

Email candy@offassist.com.

The OffAssist newsletter is made possible by the copywriting/editing skills of Ink Think VA, and the coding talents of VA Lab Designs.