Last week I mentioned that I'd give you a peek at my office "re-do" on this blog. My WFH space got a facelift this month! I went from dark reddish walls to crisp, clean white. Several things sparked this upgrade including a quick course I took on Feng Shui for your office. It is the practice of harmonizing yourself with the surrounding environment. When put into practice, it is believed to promote prosperity and good health. Your home office could be a stressful place so a few little tweaks can contribute to your overall serenity and productivity. COLOR matters! Even though red is one of my favorites, my office felt so dark and closed in. In fact, red can make you anxious for no reason in an office setting.
This bright and airy change has motivated me to work more efficiently in all areas of my company. Keeping the room clutter-free with a minimal amount of accessories discourages me from getting too distracted. I feel fortunate to have a separate work space, which is important.
My "command central" desk hosts my trusty Franklin Planner and a fresh cup of coffee. Live plants ground me and they fulfill my need for bringing the outdoors in. I have a bank of Eastern facing windows that fill the room with sunlight in the mornings.
Another tip that this ancient practice suggests is to leave yourself motivational notes. Also add decor items that inspire you and remind you of your goals.
The bottom line is create a work from home area that you love to be in! I'd like to hear what tips you have for making your home office more inviting. Feel free to comment below!
Can I Deduct My Timeshare Points on My Taxes?
If you’re like a lot of folks, your vacation went by the boards in a big way last year… and maybe this year, too. If you’re like a lot of people with timeshares, you also book your quality away-time using a points system.
Sure would be nice if
a) somebody could use what should’ve been your week on the beach and
b) you could still get some money out of the deal.
For your taxes, that’s where it gets stickier than a hot, humid day in Bermuda.
What dreams are made of
We’re going to assume your timeshare resort has gone to a points system.
What are “points”?
Think of them as a kind of currency that you buy to use at the big company resorts like Disney or Hilton. Points give you more options to vacation besides just one week or one spot. Of course, the more desirable the resort or the time of year, the more points you have to surrender to stay there. Kicking back on the beach is a real seller’s market.
Speaking of seller’s market, what happens when you can’t get on your big, planned getaway for an entire year? Well, there’s a whole market (largely online) for selling your points.
At least if you can’t get away, you can make back some of what you plunked down while dreaming of sunny shores and crashing waves.
So, how would converting your points to cash work – and, just as importantly, how would it affect the taxes you have to pay?
Income is income
Let’s say you put your points on the online resale market (eBay is a commonly used site, but there are a lot more). Let’s also say you’ve accumulated 7,000 Hilton points. Now, somebody buys those Hilton points on the resale market for three grand.
They get a few days in paradise... you get a fatter bank account. Everybody wins.
But... that also means Uncle Sam wins. Why? Because income is still income, and the IRS wants their cut.
Now, let’s say that instead of hitting eBay, you went through your resort company or another third party who would use your points to rent the space then send you a big cut of the rental money.
You’ll get a tax Form 1099 from the company with the details of what you made. Guess who else gets that form? The taxman. And, if you don’t report the income on your tax return, the taxman could come after you like an angry cabana guest with a leaky roof.
Can’t I deduct anything?
The most frequent deductions for timeshares themselves are annual maintenance fees, advertising, rental commission, depreciation, property taxes (if you pay them separately from the maintenance fees), and interest expense on your timeshare loan.
That’s for timeshares, not for points.
What if you incurred expenses for selling the points? Resort companies have been known to sock on hefty “administrative fees” (think four figures) for whittling timeshare points down to zero by selling them to other vacationers.
Then there’s all the stuff we’ve heard for years in real estate and taxes about deducting for depreciation and upkeep. Can’t you get a piece of that tax pie?
Probably not as much as you think.
Again, timeshare points usually aren’t the same as timeshares themselves, at least for tax purposes. You might be able to whittle the taxable income of any administrative costs for points sold, as well as lessening taxes on a) dues for belonging to the timeshare organization, b) any pro-rated initial membership fee, and c) other incidental fees for marketing the points. (Some have taken a depreciation deduction on points - not a recommended course of action.)
Beyond that is what the IRS would call “aggressive” deductions. And nothing makes them take a shovel to your taxes faster.
But “renting” is also a whole new tax road involving extra paperwork (IRS Schedule E, for one). Most timeshare resort companies have rules about commercial use of a property. Some are OK with renting, some aren’t. One even specifically warns against rental activity – read the fine print.
If you’re getting the idea this is a gray tax area, then you would be right. Sometimes taxpayers get to profit in gray areas. More often, though, they get into tax trouble.
Look at it this way: You’re likely making a little back on something you didn’t have time to use. Pay the slight income tax and don’t stick your neck out.
Richard Lindsey & Paula Waldo
Dreams Do Come True!
A few days ago this official looking document arrived in my mailbox letting me know that my first book is now registered in the Library of Congress. I can't tell you how exciting it was to open up this letter and find out that something I created is now part of this collection.
My book, Your Journey Your Way, is slated to publish later in September. I'll link it in the blog when it is ready for purchase. Thank you for letting me share my news!
My dog, Marcello wants everyone to know that he thinks that home offices need a fur-kid. As you can see he has made himself comfortable on my rug and is ready for whatever comes his way!
Animals definitely contribute to our overall emotional health and can significantly lower stress. My dogs remind me to get outdoors every day and soak up some Vitamin D. They keep me from sitting too long at my desk!
In these times, I encourage you, dear readers, to be in the moment. Find joy in the tasks that you are doing, the people you are with and the places that you encounter. As my mother taught me, there is beauty everywhere if you take the time to look for it. Wishing you the very best of weeks from my home to yours.