Business Beat: Tax season is underway

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Andy Bockelman is a member of the Denver Film Critics Society, and his movie reviews appear in Explore Steamboat and the Craig Daily Press.

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With forms like W-2s and 1099s firmly in hand by now to be furnished to the Internal Revenue Service for the 2011 tax year, it’s time to get started on the annual task.

But, before you lick the envelope or click the “submit” button on the electronic version of your 1040, be sure you have all the information you need.

Changes in 2011’s tax process includes a two-percent decrease in Social Security deductions in paychecks, the abolishment of the Making Work Pay credit and an extra two days to file.

“April 15 falls on a Sunday this year, and the next day is Emancipation Day in Washington, D.C., so the IRS will be closed that day, so the deadline is April 17,” said Chris Jones, an accountant at Jones & Associates, Inc. “Actually, it’s almost like we have an extra three days since it’s a Leap Year.”

Jones said the recent changes, such as a credit for energy efficient home fixtures, aren’t as “significant” as those made in previous years, which he attributes to 2012 being a big election year.

One of the more favorable alterations is the standard exemption being bumped up to $3,700 from $3,650. Less desirable: A repayment on a credit given to first-time homebuyers in 2008 was required with 2010 taxes and carries over into the 2011 taxes, as well.

“If you took the credit in 2009, there was no payback provision, so it’s somewhat unfortunate for the 2008 people, it’s never really a pleasant thing,” he said.

Jones said there are ins and outs that he believes people should be aware of before filing, many of which apply any year.

“One thing is that people always want to get a refund, but it’s basically like Uncle Sam’s been using your money for 12 months on an interest-free loan,” he said. “We try to encourage clients that getting a refund is an OK thing if it’s a good saving mechanism for you, but if you’re good at putting away money each month, why not try to get it to break even or just get a little bit back instead of thousands of dollars?”

On the local level, Jones said students of Colorado Northwestern Community College need to remember the details of the 1098-T form, which lists the tuition paid by students and/or their parents.

“For residents of the state, the rate is different and the true tuition amount is higher than what people actually paid, and the IRS wants to know what you actually paid,” he said. “If the statement said it was $5,000 and you only paid $2,000 because you got the benefit of living in the community, you can’t take the $5,000 credit. People need to realize that can be misleading. It’s not like the IRS is targeting that kind of small stuff, but you still don’t want to get a letter from them about that.”

For questions about changes or other tax issues, contact any of the tax preparers in the area or visit irs.gov for federal taxes and colorado.gov/revenue/tax for state.

Engraver sharpens image with downtown locale

Setting up a business from the comfort of your home can be a successful venture, but getting your name out in the public eye is a must.

Now that one Craig firm has established itself in a more official site, catching the attention of passersby is much easier.

Kevin and Annie Sauer, owners of Status Symbols Laser Engraving, have found a greater customer base since moving downtown at 518 Yampa Ave.

The couple, who started the engraving business from home in October 2010, first relocated last November.

“We’ve gotten a lot more people just because they can see us now,” Kevin said.

As the only laser engraver in the area, Kevin can make an impression on most materials: metal, wood, acrylics, glass, stone, rubber and more. Some of the products he personalizes for patrons are rubber stamps, trophies and other awards.

“We can put messages and things like that on iPads, iPods, guns, knives, all kinds of things,” he said.

He added that customizing items over the holidays was profitable, something he hopes to continue for Valentine’s Day. However, a popular item for the day is one of the few difficult materials.

“The laser I use really isn’t for most jewelry, especially not precious metals,” Kevin said. “It can do pewter and stainless steel.”

The Sauers refer business back and forth with neighboring store Kester Jewelry.

“It works out pretty well because Ron (Kester) can do some of the stuff that we can’t, and vice-versa,” Kevin said.

For more information on hiring Status Symbol for your engraving needs, call 824-9477 or email them at statussymbolslaserengraving@yahoo.com.

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