Yesterday, I ventured outside for the first time in over a week'One of the benefits of working from home is I don’t have to risk my life on the nation’s highways heading to and from the workplace'Although I did get to see several people risking their lives while I took my first snow excursion of the year, I was warmed by the thought of the huge quantity of drivers that no longer have to worry about life-threatening snow and slush conditions, due to the fact that they drive All-Terrain, 4-Wheel Drive, Sport Utility Vehicles with names like Yukon King, Road Warrior, and Grand Cherokee – sturdy vehicles that were made for the brutal terrain of places like The Rocky Mountains, the Frozen Tundra, the Rugged Outback, and Meridian Street, Indianapolis.
I drive what used to be the normal kind of car that now sits lower on the ground than every other vehicle, so I am reduced to only imagining what all the cars in front of the one in front of me are up to, and hoping that the driver in front of me is taking proper precautions to warn me with brake lights, arm-waving, or shouting out the window when the car in front of him is preparing to slide into a ditch' Anyway, all this snow got me thinking about how taxpayers could take advantage of the adverse weather conditions, and I came up with the following list:
While you’re thinking of travel to a warm place (isn’t everyone?), look for conferences and seminars in far away (warm) places that are work-related and that might result in a business expense deduction'Keep in mind that you actually have to attend the conference in order to take a deduction for your travel expenses' Injuries resulting from slipping on the ice may garner you some extra medical expenses, which may be deductible'This time of year the hearts and pocketbooks of many people open to the homeless and less-fortunate members of our society'Don’t hesitate to donate to the missions, shelters, and soup kitchens that provide food, clothing, and warmth to the needy'If you’re short of cash, consider donations of canned goods, old winter jackets, sweaters, hats, scarves, gloves, and boots'And don’t forget our four-legged homeless friends'Old blankets and towels can be put to good use at the humane societies'All of these items entitle you to tax deductions for charitable contributions'Ask for a receipt (which you will keep for your records, but not attach to your tax return) when you make a contribution'If your shelves and closets are bare and you have nothing but your time to donate, you’ll get no tax deduction, but may find yourself with a great feeling of satisfaction for the help you can give.
For those of you with snow blowers, plow attachments on your tractors, or just big shovels and muscular arms, you can earn extra cash by helping with snow removal'This extra cash, of course, will be subject to income tax (and maybe even self-employment tax if you go after this business with a vengeance and earn more than $400).
An obvious tax benefit associated with winter weather catastrophes is the casualty loss deduction'If the weight of snow caves in your roof you can take comfort in knowing you might get a tax deduction for repair and replacement costs not covered by your insurance'The cost of temporary housing resulting from having no roof when it snowing outside is also deductible if not covered in full by your insurance'You may also reap the benefits of the casualty loss deduction if you’re not lucky enough to be driving an All-Terrain Sport Utility Vehicle, and you skid into the back end of the Yukon King in front of you because you can’t see around him to notice the three-car pile-up for which he had to apply his brakes (and of which you and he are now a part)'