Archives for May 2014

What is Expected of a Leader

Everything we do in business or life there is a leader that takes the helm. You can become the leader of others or someone else can lead you. The quality of the leadership determines whether the group succeeds for fails. How you chose to lead can vary by situation, but you always have a chance to pick you leading style. As you consider what style of leader you want to be, keep in mind that good leaders can have a combination of several factors. The following is a look at different factors that influence you as a leader.

Leading with you head

Leaders that lead with their heads are a chief strategist. They devise a plan, measure progress towards a goal; helps create the mission, works out solutions to problems. They dream about the future of the team and look at how opportunities can reshape the team’s success. Head leaders know how to maximize their resources. They also ensure the continuity and growth of the team.

Leading with your heart

Heart leaders lives and defends the teams values and agreed upon behaviors. They are a champion for the people. They are motivators, and look for ways to help the team grow and evolve their skills and abilities. Hearts give credit to team members for successes and instill a spirit of fun and excitement into the team’s mission.

Leading with your face

When you lead with your face, you are the team’s ambassador. Faces take responsibility for the team’s failures ad meets disappointment head on. They are involved and committed in the group’s mission, and are the accessible member of the team.

Leading with your voice

This leader shares the team’s vision with other members and stockholders. They plan for and execute internal and external control to make sure everyone is informed. The voice leader established the tone for the group and raises issues and concerns related to lack of progress. They are straight talkers.

Leading with your hands

Leaders that lead with their hands are team players. They assist the team in removing roadblocks. Hand players are problem solvers. They follow through with their promises and make others do the same. Hand leaders undertake the difficult tasks and execute the tough decisions that are for the greater good. They also model the expected behaviors.

Becoming a leader can be unexpected for many, but when that role is thrust upon you, it is important to know what kind of leader you are. Many leaders are not just one type, but there is usually a dominate part to your leadership.

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Finding Your Professional North

In today’s age, the world keeps spinning even when we find ourselves lost and looking for our true north. Like on a compass it is important to learn how to keep following your set path even when obstacles are in your way.  Finding your professional north is the just as important. There are endless possibilities, and infinite paths to choose from while on your path to discovery. Below are a few ideas to keep in mind while you conduct your search:

  • Make a Decision: The first step is finding what you want to do. For some people they know going into college or even earlier, but other take the winding path to discovery. That initial decision is what is important.
  • Set your Path: Ok, so you have figured out where you want to go, but how do you get there. Creating goals to guide you down the path using them like mile markers to mark how far you have come and how far you have left to go.
  • Take Breaks: Everyone gets tired, and sometimes the miles are long and hard. It is important to rest and renew your passion for what you want to do. If you are tired you can lose focus and miss your goal.
  • Practice Makes Perfect: Everyone needs practice to be able to get better. You have to put the time in to get better. Practice your craft, take classes to learn new things, put into practice what you learn. You cannot become a master overnight so keep practicing.
  • Find Your Motivation: What drives you? How can you become better? Find what inspires you and use it to move you forward. It could be someone, a meeting, a picture, etc. This will get you through tough times, and help you push through to the other side.
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Offer in Compromise Program

With tax time ending, many people are faced with the harsh reality of paying owed taxes. For the taxpayers that have considerable debt you hear about ways to settle with the IRS for a fraction of what you owe. This settlement program is an offer in compromise (OIC). It gives the taxpayer a chance to pay a slightly lower amount over several years. Even though this is a highly talked about program, it is an extremely hard program to qualify for.

In 2013, the IRS only approved 31,000 OIC applications despite the millions of people in debt to them. In contrast, there are over 4 million installment agreements in 2013 for those that owe taxes. When it comes to OIC, it is a rare occurrence to be approved for two reasons: The taxpayer does not qualify for the program, or if they qualify, they still cannot pay the amount offered.

The first question to ask: Do I qualify for an OIC? The answer may be simple to answer. Can you pay back the amount due before the collection statute expiration date? The way he IRS determines this is through a formula. You can find an OIC pre-qualifier tool on the IRS website at www.IRS.gov. This calculator figures the chance to repay before the expiration date by using the net equity in assets plus any future income. This process can be the most confusing part of the process, and subjected to the most debate, but the results are very clear, either you can or cannot repay in the allotted time.

The next question after determining if you qualify: Can you pay the OIC offered amount? There is once again a formula used to determine the qualifications. This calculation is a bit more complicated and needs to be taken with care and diligence. If done incorrectly then the offer will be too costly to accept. A true financial hardship has to be there to prove that the taxpayer is unable to the taxes before the collection statute expires. Once this is determined and the results come in, many people think it is better to establish a payment plan.

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Chance of Audits: Lower Than Normal

Now that the tax deadline has come and gone, the time for audits is here. But what are your chances of having an audit this year? The chances are the lowest they have been in years. Last year the IRS only audited 1% of the individual returns, and this year they are expecting the numbers to go down.

Several things are causing this decline in audits. The biggest factor is budget. The IRS’s budget has declined from $12.1 billion in 2010 to $11.3 billion. This decrease in finances is attributed to overall budget made by Congress to help balance the budget. According to the IRS Commissioner, John Koskinen, there are three areas that can be cut, enforcement, taxpayer services and technology. Since technology upgrades can only be put off for so long, so to ensure the upgrades are made, enforcement and services are taking a hit.

With the decline in the budget for the IRS this leads to fewer agents employed to be able to conduct audits. With fewer agents, the IRS will be more selective on who they choose to audit. The IRS will still be looking at red flags that put someone at risk of an audit. Some of the red flags are:

  • Reporting less than actually earned
  • Earning more than $200,000
  • Making excessive deductions
  • Having extensive losses in stocks
  • Owning  your own business
  • Having accounts in foreign countries
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