Hi everyone, does anyone know the exact rules in California as to what you can write off your paid taxes?  Also, I was on HR block do-it-yourself tax site, and I screwed up so bad, the IRS ended up owing my money, after I have paid nothing into it this past year.. I am a part-time reporter, not making the big bucks...thanks for any help in advance...

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I wouldn't use HR Block.  We haven't even paid in quartleries, my husband and I, because we never have the money.  I don't even want to know what we owe.  You need someone to help you with your taxes.  Hire an expert because it's worth it.


haha...that's what I used HR block...online, and got so confused... I didn't pay quarterlies either.... well if you guys find somebody spectacular, please letmeno!

Cell phone, house phone, internet, PG&E, water, garbage, state license, office supplies, proofreading, mileage, parking, postage, DMV registration, square footage of office space (it's all calculated for me on TurboTax).  I was told I cannot write off repairs to car.  I have never claimed this, put I do know some people will write off clothing for work, eating out.

You can deduct 1/2, I believe, of your Social Security taxes you paid in and also if you bought healthcare insurance, you can deduct some of that.   You definitely don't need a CPA but you might seek out an Enrolled Agent to do your taxes.   They can compute taxes you should pay every quarter.  Don't lag behind on paying them.  It can put you in debt.

Chris, what did your EA miss?

I took my return to a CPA one year and there was nothing different than what the EA did.  Of course, I do try to figure out deductions from reading articles regarding self-employed people.   I probably should have done a S corp to reduce taxes years ago, but I am so close to retirement I don't think it would be worth it at this point.    I really reduced my taxes this year by getting a solo 401(k) and put in the max allowed.  Only problem is you have to come up with employer/employee sides of the money, and most people can't do that unless you live way under what you are making, which I do.  I realize that is rare.

My EA says most self-employed people she sees don't pay their quarterlies.  That is insane to me.  I have always liked to live under my means.  Maybe that comes from having parents who grew up during the Depression or maybe others would just call me cheap or frugal.

How do you file now if not an S corp? Would that actually save money?

You can call Liberatore, CPA in La Mirada Califonia. The firm has done my taxes for over 15 years and he has over 575 court reporter clients all over California and different states. I highly recommend Philip Liberatore at 562.404.7996 or 714.522.3337. Please feel free to use my name and let them know that I referred you.

Kathryn Marie Adams
CSR #8391

The first time I used Liberatore, I got audited.  He had told me before I signed on with him that if I got audited, they would represent me for free.  When I got the news of being audited, they said you need to send us a check for $500 to represent you.  Besides that, he is way toooooo expensive. 

I have heard he is expensive but most CPAs in California would charge at least 1,000 or more.  

I was also "recommended" to Phil my very first year.   A lady sat me in a little cubicle and started adding up my receipts.  She told me I owed A LOT!   I had only worked a partial year - made crumbs...  She said I would NEVER get money back no matter what because of self-employment tax - even if I had property, I would ALWAYS owe.  

I left.

Only other thing I heard about Phil in the interim is he wrote off someone's Suburban as a "farm" vehicle because it weighed over the pounds limit.  

Then went to another recommendation for a couple of years until I saw him simply input MY information into a computer program and with a raised brow, queried, "You do all this yourself?"   I had made $120,000 that year - with two kids.   He said your kids really helped you.   My daughter was born on 12/31/01.

I did not like his attitude.  

Have LOVED Turbo Tax ever since.   

Don't forget your scoping and proofing, professional affiliations - DRA/NCRA.    Seminars/Conventions.   Business internet access.   iPads!   Un-reimbursed parking tolls.    Cloud storage!    DropBox cost/fees.   Software Training.   Flash drives.   Shipping exhibits.   Business cards.   Software contract renewal.    Starbucks!     {Kidding on that last one!}  

Oh, and I write off the cost of the previous year's software the following year - it's about a hundred dollars.

We have always used Turbo Tax.  It walks you through everything that's deductible.   Most of the time involved in taxes has to do with compiling all your information.  I never wanted to do quarterlies, so we always just pay more money through my husband's salary since it's stable.  We generally get back money.  This year we get back a lot of money because last year was a super slow year in the end and I never adjusted our withholding.


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