Facing the Truth
As a physician and an entrepreneur, I am an avid reader of your magazine. Your articles are at once educational and entertaining. Nichole L. Torres' well-written article "Face Value" should not be construed as educational, however. Tickle's views on the meanings of facial features of famous people are not backed by strong scientific evidence. To base business decisions on these features is the equivalent of consulting one's horoscope and, as such, should be intended for entertainment purposes only.
Plastic Surgery Resident
Pomona, New Jersey
Food for Thought
The article "In Your Dreams" by Geoff Williams was very interesting and makes an important point. It is essential to realize that your intuition is available and always sending information. However, you must also be in a receptive state of mind in order to act on million-dollar ideas when they surface. Many people find that one passing thought, properly captured, has changed their entire life's direction.
Author of Directed Dreaming: Success from the Subconscious
For Your Consideration
I also evaluated PR Newswire and Business Wire and selected Marketwire after a comprehensive review. I urge you to take a look at the comparison of the wires.
I save, on average, 40 percent to 50 percent on each release, and I found Marketwire's reach and effectiveness to be as good as--and in most cases, much better than--the ones mentioned in the article. What has continued to amaze me, and is a real differentiator, is their proactive and positive customer service.
Director of PR
Watch Your Claims
I read your June column on the new IRS home-office sale guidelines ("Personal Finance") and believe that the information you imparted is incorrect (or, at least, incomplete.) On December 24, 2002, the IRS issued guidelines making it clear that even those who had claimed a home office in prior years would qualify for the $250,000/$500,000 capital gain exemption when they sold their homes. However, home offices that were separate structures from the main home would not qualify. For the majority of home offices, however, the guidelines specified that the only effect of selling a home in which a home office had previously been claimed was that the depreciation claimed (or allowed) would need to be recaptured.
While home prices have increased so much in many parts of the country that the 1031 home office exchange you mentioned might be necessary/desirable (because the $250,000/$500,000 exemption won't be sufficient), the majority of homeowners who have claimed a home office and are now selling their homes will be able to manage without the complexity of a 1031 exchange and will be able to ignore (not just defer) the gain on their homes (with the exception of paying tax on the depreciation claimed).
As a tax preparer who specializes in small business, I am often asked whether it's worth claiming the home office despite problems when the home gets sold. I always assure these business owners that it is. However, your article might make these taxpayers reluctant to claim a home office.
The February 2005 guideline change will be helpful to some business owners, but it is neither simpler nor better than the guidelines issued in December 2002, which are applicable to many more taxpayers.
Author of Minding Her Own Business: The Self-Employed Woman's
Essential Guide to Taxes and Financial Records
Scott Bernard Nelson responds: Jan correctly points out that recapturing home-office depreciation won't be significant in dollar terms for many. But it could be for some, even for those with offices inside the home (not external structures). The February 2005 IRS guidance gives people a new option. The recapture of home office depreciation can now be deferred until later, if necessary, via a 1031 exchange. It won't be for everyone, but those with a home office should know about the alternatives.
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