Tax Deductions on Damaged Property

Devastating and catastrophic natural disasters such as floods, hurricanes, and tornadoes have one line of commonality: the property damage they cause is deductible from income taxes, if such is reported by the sufferer. If any of these natural disasters destroy one’s house, vehicle, or household possessions, such a person is eligible for the said tax break since the IRS regards these as sudden, unusual, or unexpected occurrences. The IRS simply comes to an affected taxpayer’s aid by writing-off part of the loss from their income tax.

One should, however, not start to entertain the infantile ideas of recovering the full value of their loss, since there are limits. If such a person has insurance cover, they will first have to file a claim. The insurance payout one receives will be considered when writing-off the loss suffered. Basically, the amount such person receives from their insurer will be deducted from the amount to be subtracted from their taxes. In case one decides not to lodge a claim, they can only deduct the loss not covered by their policy.

Events qualifying for tax breaks:

If one’s personal property falls victim to accidents, burglaries, terrorist attacks, storms, tsunamis, fires, riots, earthquakes, and such other occurrences as outlined by the National Disaster Relief Act, one will be able to deduct a part of the loss their income tax bill.

It is a general requirement that one deducts their loss in the year that such occurred, unless the loss is occasioned by a disaster and the head of state has designated one’s community a federal disaster area.

Determining the deduction one qualifies for:

Once one has determined that the loss they suffered qualifies for the federal tax deduction and has already lodged a claim with their insurer, they’ll in all likelihood, want to know exactly how much they can recover by writing off their loss. To determine the amount, one will need to collect all related papers to prove the monetary value of the property lost and the repair costs, if any.

When one has calculated the value of the loss, it is then possible to determine the exact amount to be deductable from one’s federal taxes. If the event affected property not meant for business use, personal use property, one is allowed to deduct only $500 for every item of property so destroyed.

In case thievery or a natural calamity in a non-presidentially declared region occasioned the loss, one can subtract a further 10 percent based on their adjusted gross income. In order to bolster one’s claim, it is imperative that a taxpayer finds “before and after” photographs of the damaged, lost or destroyed items. Additionally, one should have all the checks, receipts, deeds, and even professional appraisals in order to present them when required. A professional appraisal is a brilliant way of proving one’s insurance claims.


In case one needs help in calculating the tax write-off they qualify for, it is prudent that they seek the help of a tax preparation expert. The Casualty, Disaster and Theft Loss Workbook, a handbook provided by the IRS, can also be of immense help in determining one’s eligibility for tax write-offs.

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Travel Tips – Pick your Destination

Everyone travels at a different rate. What we mean by that is that some like to take it easy and calmly experience what they can while others want to see as much as they can in the shortest possible time and still others are after excitement and tons of adrenaline.

You need to be aware of the type of traveler you are and make sure you plan a holiday and choose travel companions who are of the same mind. Go to the wrong place with the wrong people and it will not be what you had hoped it would be. Can you imagine getting caught up in a white water rafting holiday down the Yukon River in mid-winter when all you wanted to do was see local native artifcats and take pictures for the bird-watching club back home?

So if this is your first time traveling then we advise you to take it easy. Select a destination that will help you ease into travel. Take you time in planing a trip that you will enjoy but that will also teach you about travel and what to expect from it.

Be aware that the biggest difference in destinations is not whether they are from East or West but rather if they are rich or poor. If you are not ready to confront abject poverty and the emotional and psychological effects it can have on you then be advised NOT to go somewhere where you may be confronted by real poverty – it can be traumatic! Know yourself and your destination before you go. No amount of money, knowledge, background or forethought can shield you from the effects of real poverty if you are not used to it.
Do some basic research before you leave home. There are a wide array of travel guides available. We do not suggest you go and buy them. What we advise is borrowing them from your local library first. Find the one that suits you best (Fodor, Blue Guides, Lonely Planet, etc.) and the destination you are interested in (if you don’t find the right on in the shelves ask the librarian and they may just get it in for you). Once you know your destination and the guide you like then go and buy it but not before – you will waste a lot of time if you buy before you try.
In the poorer nations you experiences will be more people-centred and in the richer nations more program oriented. For example: a visit to Paris will probably revolve around places (Museums, Palaces and events where there are large groups of non-interacting people) while a trip to India may be more aligned to meeting the people and visiting rural towns, temples, etc. where you will be with large groups of interacting people.
Do not bring your cultural or religious prejudices with you when you travel! You will be going into cultures that have very different ideas on morality, manners, politics and religion. Be aware that their beliefs are as valid as yours; just different. To act otherwise can be considered rude and can even, in the wrong place, be very dangerous. Listen before you speak.
Always check out the Travel Alerts that are available from your governments before selecting a destination.
Find events that might interest you and plan your trip around one or more of them. Check out for a list of events from around the world.

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Grow a Business That Involves Woodworking

Growing a profitable business from home is possible even in these uncertain economic times. If your passion is woodworking or even if you have little or no experience in this area, it is possible to be successful in starting a business that centers on woodworking.Areas of such a business could also include designing and building sheds or boats. All you need are proven business plans. You will also need plans that will give you step-by step instructions with regards to building various woodworking projects.

There are a number of business plans available on the internet that help get your woodworking business started and become profitable in a timely and cost-effective manner. These plans should explain the necessary tools and materials you will need to complete your various woodworking projects.

Sourcing the materials you will need to complete your wood working projects is very important when it comes to the bottom line. You will also need to exactly what to purchase so that there is no waste. You do not want any left-over materials that will not be used in future projects.

You will need to know what types of woodworking projects to build such as furniture that will most profitable. Maximizing your profits by producing a good quality product that is easy to sell will help your woodworking succeed in the short and long-term.

Many of profitable woodworking projects can be built with basic woodworking tools. You do not always need expensive power tools or a large garage.These easy to build crafts can be built-in assembly line fashion. This will reduce your overhead and help your woodworking business become profitable in a timely and cost-effective manner. A proven woodworking plan will help you achieve this.

The woodworking crafts you decide to build could be easily constructed in the shed in your backyard. This would free up you garage for other uses such storage or keeping the materials needed for your woodworking projects.

If you don’t have a shed on your property it is possible to build one with little or no woodworking experience. There are many resources on the internet that will provide you with step-by-step instructions on how to complete such a project. The cost for the plans are sometimes free or can be acquired at minimal cost. After completing your shed you might to make the design and construction such structures as part of your woodworking business.

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Stress Is Normal!

Living in the 21st century, we have adopted certain terminologies as a part of our vocabulary. And, we do not even spare a moment to think about them. One such common phrase is “stress is normal!”

Is stress normal?

Is it Okay for stress to be normal?

According to MedinePlus Medical Encyclopedia, “stress is your body’s reaction to a challenge or demand. It is a feeling emotional or physical tension that arises from any thought or event that makes you frustrated, angry, or nervous.”

Now, if we try to relate this definition with the concept of “stress is normal,” it makes one believe that,

It is normal to get into a state of emotional or physical tension each time we are angry, frustrated, or nervous!

First of all, staying in such a condition is detrimental to our health in several ways. Diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart conditions, mental illnesses, and many more are the consequences of staying in a state of stress.

Then is it okay to accept stress as a part of our lives?

Now, if we look at what causes stress according to the above definition, we find that it arises from “a thought or event that makes us frustrated, angry, or nervous!”

Why do we get frustrated/angry/nervous?

The simplest reason for this is when things don’t go our way, or people do not behave in the manner we want them to. In other words, we feel frustrated when we cannot control our circumstances or others around us. The unfortunate truth is, most things that happen in life are beyond our control, and people behave the way they want to, not the way we want them to!

If this is the hard reality, should we then respond to these aspects by getting stressed and impacting our physical and mental wellbeing?

A closer look at the definition of stress points out to a simple word, “Thought!” It says that other than a specific event it is the thought that triggers stress.

Well! That’s a saving grace because while we cannot control the events that occur in our lives what we CAN control is our thoughts. It is only our thoughts that can help us respond to stressful events in life in a manner that we do not get stressed.

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Stay Home and Earn Unlimited Income

With the internet opening up opportunity for people to work from home is something that more and more people are trying to do.

The problem is that most people don’t know where to start or what action to take to start generating an income (earning from home.)

Do you have a problem trying to make money from home? If so,

I have written this article because believe I can help you get started generating income from the comfort of your home and this article is going to show you two ways that you can do that;

These are;

1. Affiliate Marketing

2. Taking Surveys

1. Affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing is quite interesting as It is very simple to become an affiliate marketer.

All you do is just help people (or companies) promote (or advertise) their product to people who need them and when those products get purchased, you are paid a commission (or a percentage) of the profit they made out of the sales.

Remember you don’t need to come up with the product to sell as this already exist.

Simply put, you are like the middle-man between the buyer and the seller.

The secret of becoming a great affiliate marketer is for you to promote the product you know (or like).


People want to buy weight lose products and there are companies that sell these products. All you need to do is help the company sell their weight lose products to people willing to buy them and you get paid.

2. Paid Surveys

This is when you are giving an incentive for giving your honest opinion about a product (or company).

Incentive can be in cash or vouches but it is mostly cash.

I can tell you that if you are available for at least 1 hour per day, you can make more than $100 for every hour you spent giving your opinion about a product (or company.)

There are lots of companies that wants to know how their customers feel about their products and services. This helps them to improve on their products and services deliveries to the populist.

We all use these products and services so, to form your opinion is not a problem in this situation. As an additional advantage, you get to let the companies that manufacture the products you use know how you feel about their product and that you turn helps them service you better.

What a great way to earn an income from the same company that you pay for their goods and services.

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Opting Out of the Rat Race Can Be a Valid Life Choice

“The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you’re still a rat” said Lily Tomlin, American actress and comedian. That’s an acute and deep analysis of the frenetic chase oriented lifestyle that most people seem doomed to live over and over, all their lives! A blind race after the so-called finer things in life; for money and power and social position and accepted definitions of success; a running in place simply to keep up with the next person; all these factors have combined to make the modern Human a driven creature running, running, till the day they die.

But is this the only possible way to live and be? Isn’t there any other way to have a full, and fulfilling, life? Are the stress and daily angst of the rat race; the associated physical, emotional, and mental health problems; the inescapable evils of a modern life? Not necessarily, as a lot of people around the world are discovering. Opting out of the rat race is becoming a distinct possibility in the age of information, technology and outsourcing and the possibilities have only improved manifold over the last year, as the world, and corporate, have realized the alternatives to the 9-5.

There are numerous stories of people seizing control of their own lives and changing direction in mid-stream. From sales professionals giving up lucrative jobs with MNCs in order to teach MBA, to engineers turning restaurateurs; young people are choosing to walk away from the high stress, high speed, and insane run up the ladder, to do something they enjoy. It’s huge! It’s a risk! But most of them agree, it’s worth every minute of it! They may make less money, at least for a while, but what they gain instead more than makes up for the financial loss.

First of all, there’s a huge fall in stress and angst levels. That brings with it massive health and lifestyle benefits. Occurrence of diabetes and hypertension are sky high in most professions these days. Younger and younger people are being afflicted, and most of them have no family history of either disease. Experts agree that this is caused by the high levels of stress these people function under, everyday. Heart attacks are happening younger and younger, and fertility and libido are way down in most urban centers. Get rid of the stress, and voila! Problems are reduced significantly, sometimes even totally disappear!

Less time spent running after money or the next gadget or the newest television means more time on your hands for doing things you love and spending quality time with family and friends. Creative pursuits, hobbies, and social interaction, all reduce stress further, not to mention make life a joy, and give an immense amount of meaning and fulfillment. And the really fun thing is that you don’t even have to give up on the money! Consultants make good money these days, as can freelancers and business owners. Maybe it wouldn’t be as much as your executive salary package, at least for a while, until you build things up to that level, but the advantages are many too. And with modern technology, as we have already seen this past year, it is highly possible.

So take a serious look at your life, and consider opting out of the rat race. Even thinking about it helps. Feeling like you have an out, anytime you want it, makes the here and now less like a jail sentence and more like a choice.

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How Can I Become An Innovative Person?

We see the word innovation often, and it’s amazing sometimes what qualifies for innovation as this buzz-word is being bantered about. Those of us who are creative and innovative know our prospects for success are greater than those without such talents and attributes. Perhaps this is why so many people seek to learn how to innovate themselves. It sure looks good on a resume, and most job descriptions do have a phrase or two in them such as; looking for an innovative self-starter. Let’s talk about innovation a little bit and see if you can figure out how to reposition yourself better as someone known to be innovative.

Innovation is Just Combining Observations and Solutions from Other Domains

Many who’ve thought about it long enough realize that most good innovations in any particular sector come from borrowing ideas or portions of ideas from other sectors or domains. Most innovators I know admit that most of their new original thought concepts come to them in this way. If this is the case, then we don’t need to teach innovation at all, rather we just need more polymaths and people with vast arrays of experience in many fields.

Unfortunately, that would mean all the ‘Innovation Gurus’ would be out of work and teaching very few seminars because until their enrolled students had more experiences in more areas of life and work, the seminar attendees wouldn’t be ready to use the methodology taught or have enough knowledge to be a future contender in the top ranks of innovators.

Of course the scary part of this theory of re-combination to create innovation means that it’s pretty easy to teach and if so, anyone can do it, so maybe that’s why everyone is trying to specialize in this “innovation coach” generalist category today. Once someone has experience and knowledge and understands how to use information in one area in another, they can become innovators, at least proficient at the most common type of innovation that is.

If you’ve played sports, you might take some of the strategies and tactics used to win and use something similar in a business situation to better a product or sell a service. Perhaps you had a short stint in a summer job, and realize that some of your observations there could be used at the organization you work or volunteer at now. Maybe you use a utensil in the kitchen that might also be good for doing a task at work, with only a little modification. There’s your chance to innovate. Take it. Think about it, both early and often.

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