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The OB Poll: Some good economic news

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Poll wrap-up
Thursday, September 10, 2009

More than half of the respondents in this week’s poll bring a bit of good economic news: they say that their company is holding steady against the hard winds of the downturn and some of them even plan to hire.

Just a small percentage say that they are gearing up to fire workers, which may be proof that the reports that we’ve reached bottom are true.

According to the Associated Press, companies are laying off fewer workers as the U.S. economy shows consistent signs that the recession is over. The Federal Reserve said this week that 11 of its 12 regional banks reported the economy is stabilizing, an improvement from previous reports.

Still, the employment picture in Oregon isn’t pretty. About 3,000 jobless Oregonians have reached the final extensions on their unemployment benefits. Oregon’s unemployment rate was 11.9 percent in July, and has been close to 12 percent over the past five months.

The latest report from the labor department adds to a deepening consensus that, even as the economy resumes expansion, the recovery was likely to be weak, prompting most companies to hold back from aggressive hiring, meaning it will be a jobless recovery.

But at least there are a few Oregon companies out there bucking the trend.



Jack Rubinger
0 #1 Important News for Portland Tax PayersJack Rubinger 2009-09-16 15:58:15
Portlanders who might have Halloween on their minds in October may have another important date to remember this Fall -- Thursday, October, 15th.

If you filed for an automatic tax extension back in April, your tax forms need to be filed by October 15th, reminds Eve Davis, In or Out Tax Services, 3725 SE Division Street.

Ms. Davis is concerned that many are not aware or have forgotten about this upcoming deadline because for years it was August 15. If the October 15 deadline is missed further penalties will be assessed.

“Get your books together -- particularly if you’re self-employed. Taxes are normally due on April 15 every year, but taxpayers are eligible to file for an automatic extension if they need more time to prepare their tax return,” she explained. “It’s been my experience that while the extensions do give people more time, they also tend to suspend reality. I have found this to be problematic because as time passes they tend to lose, misplace or forget some important tax information.”

Even if you file an extension, your taxes are due April 15th, whether or not your tax forms have been completed and filed. If you filed an automatic tax extension form, it is best to include any estimated taxes owed to avoid penalties and interest (as long as you send the IRS 90% of your actual tax obligation you will not owe late filing or late payment penalties). If you overpay, you will receive a refund.

“Getting your taxes done doesn’t have to be torture,” she explained. “We’ve helped clients get over $1.9 million in refunds from the IRS. Remember, the last day to electronically file (e-file) ; your 2008 Income Tax Return for tax extension and late tax e-filers is also Thursday, October 15th. If you file your taxes electronically and you’re expecting a refund, you’ll receive that refund in as little as 10 days -- compared to a paper refund which can take up to 2 to 4 months.”

Ms. Davis offers the following tips to save money on your 2009 taxes:

Go through all your closets and get rid of all the things you haven’t used in a while and donate to a qualified 501 (C) (3) charity. Make sure you write everything down and check out what comparable things sell for in a thrift store, then write that down next to it. You will probably not give yourself a big enough deduction if you try to guess the value. Also, any miles you drive for charitable purposes can be deducted at 14 cents a mile.

Give up to $50 ($100 for a joint return) to a candidate or measure on the Oregon ballot for a credit on your Oregon taxes only.

If you make estimated tax payments to Oregon, make your January 15th, 2010 payment by December 31st, 2009 to get the deduction in 2009.

Pay any medical bills you have before the end of the year for you, your spouse and your dependents. Also, keep track of all your medically related mileage. The deduction for 2009 has increased to 24 cents a mile. Go through all your receipts including insurance, co-pays, dental, glasses and prescriptions. There is a minimum amount you have to spend to get this deduction, but your efforts could be worth it because of the high cost of health care now. You can include alternative care provider costs such as acupuncture, chiropractic and naturopathic as well.

If you are self-employed look at what you spent on supplies in January and February and think about buying them in December.

Put up to $5000 in your traditional IRA and if you are over 50, you can put up to $6000 (you have until April 15th, 2010 to still get this deduction.) If you are self-employed and don’t have a SEP IRA, think about opening one because the amount you can put in pre-tax can be much higher than a regular IRA but the account has to be opened by December 31st, 2009.

All About Eve and In or Out Tax Services
When Eve Davis decided to open her own tax practice 10 years ago, she thought of her grandmother and mentor, Evelyn Johnson, who owned the In or Out Beauty Salon in Denver, Colorado. Grandmother would go to your home or hospital if you couldn’t come to her. Ms. Davis is carrying on that tradition of customer service. In or Out Tax Services is located at the site of Indigine Restaurant, 3725 SE Division Street, Portland. Ms. Davis teaches small business owners about requirements for income tax filings and payroll filings through the Small Business Development Commission. For more information, visit www.inorouttax.com, email or call 503-239-0659.

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