Before You Go Outside Organize Inside

Hooray – it’s supposed to get downright balmy in northern Illinois during the next couple of days.  We are longing to get outside to play and begin working in our yards. Before winter’s grip is totally broken it may be a good time for people who have moved recently (or those of us who have allowed things to slip) to get organized inside. Carolyn Burnham, a professional organizer, and owner of Healthy Home & Business LLC has some useful advise for all of us. (more…)

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Moving & Tax Deductions

time-481450_1280It’s tax time, and if you moved in 2014 for work purposes, you may be eligible to deduct moving expenses on your federal tax return. Before you read these guidelines be aware I am not an accountant. The purpose of this blog is to help people who have moved recently be mindful of deductions that may be available to them.
To qualify for moving expense deductions, you must meet three requirements:
1. You must move close to the start date of your job. Generally, within one year of reporting to work at a new location is acceptable.
2. You must pass the distance test.
a. Your new job must be at least 50 miles further from your old home than your old job location was.
i. For example, if you drove 8 miles to work, your new job has to be at least 58 miles from your old home to pass the test.
3. You must pass the time test.
a. If you are an employee you must work full-time at least 39 weeks during the first 12 months immediately following your relocation.
b. If you are self-employed, you must work full-time at least 39 weeks during the first 12 months, and a total of at least 78 weeks during the first 24 months after your arrival.
c. If your tax return is due before you’ve met this requirement you may still take the allowable deductions if you expect to meet the requirement.
d. Some of the exceptions to this requirement are involuntary separation, death or disability.
Now that you’ve met the three requirements, you may deduct the cost of packing and transporting your household and personal goods.
If you drove your car, and saved all receipts for gas and oil, you may deduct that amount. Otherwise you can take the standard deduction of 23.5 cents per mile driven. Be sure to include tolls and parking fees.
You may deduct the cost of storing goods within any 30 consecutive days after moving out of your old home and before moving into the new one.
A few more deductions – lodging (meals cannot be included), any cost associated with connecting and disconnecting utilities, shipping your car, and shipping pets.
I am not an accountant and strongly suggest you do further research if you are filing your tax return yourself. If you need help, contact an accountant. An accounting firm Welcome Home works with is:
Ciaccio Accounting
232 S. Batavia Ave., Suite B
Batavia, IL 60510
630-240-6826
Steve.CiaccioAccounting.com (more…)

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Reflections on 15 Years of Greeting

file5361246659300Yesterday was the 15th anniversary of Welcome Home’s first in-home visit. During that time 4,543 new households and businesses have been welcomed to Batavia & North Aurora.

Things have changed a lot in fifteen years, and sometimes I wonder if greeting services are relevant in today’s society. Our lifestyles have become very hectic and it is more difficult to find people in their homes. Thanks to the internet, newcomers can find almost any information they need at their fingertips.

Is what I do relevant to them? Is it worth my time to seek out and meet with newcomers?

I have met some fascinating people and animals – a Medieval Times knight and a bomb sniffing Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms dog come to mind. I’ve met nurses, teachers, psychologists, 911 dispatchers, chiefs, waitresses, authors, office and factory workers, firefighters, police officers, moms, dads and people with big dreams.

I’ve heard horror stories about home sales and closings gone wrong, and amazing stories of how everything aligned so perfectly it was clear to me God wanted these people to move here for some reason.

I’ve laughed and cried with newcomers. Fortunately there have been many more joyful moments than tearful ones.

Do I love what I do? Absolutely! Do the newcomers love what I do? Absolutely! I am thanked over and over again for delivering gifts and information from the wonderful businesses that sponsor Welcome Home. People are overwhelmed by the generosity of the business community.

We may live in a world of busyness and perhaps we’re becoming more isolated, but as long as we need human interaction there is nothing that will ever replace the one-on-one personal touch of feeling welcomed to the community.

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