Thursday, March 1, 2012
Bringing Your Job Skills Up to Date,
Top IRS Auditing Flags,
Congratulations to This Month's Winner,
Orion Pledges Support to Joining Forces,
Connect with Orion
Bringing Your Job Skills Up to Date
Today’s workplace remains as competitive as ever. If you were lucky enough to survive the massive layoffs of the past four years, then you are fortunate enough to be employed. Employees like you are taking on more work with fewer resources, which breeds an intensely competitive workplace. It is more important than ever that your job skills are kept up-to-date, so what options do employees have to stay in the game?
• Volunteer – this is one way that a person can gain tremendous new skills without having to switch jobs. There are thousands of volunteer opportunities in fields such as marketing, finance, public relations and more. Sites such as www.volunteermatch.org can help you navigate your way to the perfect volunteer opportunity.
• Professional Groups – professional groups keep employees current on trends and contain a plethora of resources. They also help employees stay connected to others in their field. They can be fabulous for networking, benchmarking and brainstorming. Professional groups also show your dedication to your area of expertise and an effort to bring new innovative ideas to the workplace.
• Seminars/Training Courses – if you want to break into a new field or gain some ground in your own, seminars offer the perfect opportunity. If you can prove the value of the training seminar to your job, then your company may even foot the bill.
• Continuing Education – courses at local colleges and CEUs from area organizations can provide the footwork you need to get ahead on the job. They provide practical knowledge and are generally taught by experts in the field. Again, continuing education is in many cases paid for by your employer.
• Project Work – taking on a project in a different department or joining a project team can result in valuable new skills. Understanding corporate strategy from a different department’s perspective can not only enhance your career, but open up lines of communication that perhaps weren’t there before.
• Use Online Resources – we are luckier than ever to have the Internet at our fingertips. There is boundless information out there that can help sharpen our skills. From leadership articles to branding and topgrading, the Internet is our best friend when it comes to sharpening our job skills.
Don’t be stagnant in yor professional development. Become your company’s most valuable resource by taking the initiative to learn and grow.
Top IRS Auditing Flags
Perhaps you have been through the exhaustive process of an audit or know of a friend that has been. Do you wonder why some tax returns get scrutinized by the IRS while others go unnoticed? While the odds are low that you’ll be picked for an audit (less than two percent of individual returns), there are some red flags that the IRS watches for. Even if you have nothing to hide, audits are complex and time intensive, so it’s best to avoid one if possible. Here are some of the things that IRS will pay keen attention to:
1. Making too much money. Yes, this is one of the few pitfalls of being wealthy. If you make more than $200,000 per year, the IRS automatically pays more attention to your tax return. In fact, if you make more than $1 million per year, there is a one in eight chance you’ll be audited.
2. Failing to report all taxable income. Since the dawn of computers, it is now much easier for the IRS to catch possible mistakes in income reporting. Even if the mistake is due to simple carelessness, one displaced number can result in an audit. So it behooves you to take your time and make sure all calculations are accurate.
3. Making disproportionately large charitable donations. The IRS knows what the average donation amount per income is for most people, so the computer will notice if you gave a larger than average amount to a charity than your equal income earners. This also pertains to higher than usual deductions on most items that are non-charitable.
4. Home office deductions. The IRS wants to ensure that your home office is used exclusively for business purposes. So if you report a home office, make sure it is dedicated to business purposes and nothing else, or the IRS will knock down the deduction.
5. Deductions of travel, meals and entertainment pertaining to business. If you claim excessive deductions in this department, you’ll be sure to earn an audit. The bottom line is to make sure everything is documented. Also, if you use a car to travel for business and claim it, you must make sure that you report the usage of the vehicle for business purposes accurately. Claiming you use it 100% for business will automatically alert the IRS to fraudulence.
6. For obvious reasons, failing to report an overseas bank account will result in an audit.
The bottom line is that while some things are unavoidable (you can’t help it if you make a lot of cash), other things such as inflated claims and miscalculations can help you avoid the major hassle of an audit. Take the advice of your elementary school teachers – take your time and avoid careless mistakes.
Congratulation's To This Month's Winner
Orion Pledges Support to Joining Forces
Orion is a proud participant in Joining Forces, the White House initiative led by President and Mrs. Obama, and Vice President and Dr. Biden. Joining Forces is a national initiative to involve all sectors of society to provide improved opportunities to Veterans and their families in the areas of Employment, Education, and Wellness. Through this initiative, President Obama has issued a challenge to the private sector to hire or train 100,000 unemployed Veterans and their spouses.
Orion’s commitment to Joining Forces:
• Orion will expand its Career Assistance Services to reach the Veteran Categories most affected by unemployment, as well as Military Spouses.
• Orion and Joining Forces will co-host Military Hiring Events at military installations around the country to match transitioning Service Members with companies seeking to hire Military talent, the first of which is being held at Fort Hood on March 8 & 9.
• Orion will provide consultative training programs to educate companies on creating and implementing a Military Recruiting Strategy, increasing their ability to hire and retain Veterans.
Orion is proud to have assisted several Joining Forces companies in achieving their Military Hiring goals and greatly appreciates the opportunity to directly participate in 2012.
Learn more about Orion's participation in Joining Forces here.
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