How I Manage Multiple Twitter Accounts


Several people have asked how I manage multiple Twitter accounts without going nuts. To read the full article, please click here.
In a nutshell, though, I use some of my Twitter accounts as a revenue stream for my various businesses, tweeting both paid advertisements through websites like and affilliate marketing programs, like ones I feature on my blog at Big Rock Reviews.
 
I also have recently launched a new site that features a ton of self help books that are not only available for your personal use, but also come with resell rights. click here.

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GA DOR Lowers Payment Threshold on GA Businesses


With House Bill 334, the Georgia Department of Revenue has changed Regulation: 560-3-2-.26 “Electronic Funds Transfer, Credit Card Payments, and Electronic Filing” that will have a dramatic effect on virtually all small businesses operating in Georgia.

The new rule lowers the threshold at which businesses must submit tax payments electronically. That threshold was $10,000 for all tax payments made prior to January 1, 2007. It has been $5,000 for all tax payments made after January 1, 2007; but, it gets progressively lower 2010 and 2011.

“Effective for tax periods beginning on or after January 1, 2010, the threshold will decrease

to $1,000. Therefore, any person or business with any single sales and use tax or
withholding tax payment that is greater than $1,000 will need to both file electronically and
remit their payment by EFT as well as for all future payments and filings.”

The threshold goes down to $500, beginning with payments due January 2011 or later.

What does this mean? It means that, going forward, business taxpayers will have to begin making electronic payments for Sales and Use Tax and Withholding Tax, if any of their tax payments are greater than $1,000 (beginning January 2010) or $500 (beginning January 2011). And, once you cross that threshold, you have to make ALL subsequent payments electronically, even if subsequent payments drop below the threshold.

This eliminates the notorious “float” of several weeks that it normally took the GA DOR to process checks. It eliminates filing early, but sending payments later. It gives the department access to your bank account.

What should you do to protect yourself as a small business person? I would recommend that you work with a tax preparer, who can offer filing services, and who can warehouse your payment until the very last possible day to process it, in order to avoid late payment penalties and interest. Remember, that in Georgia, you have until the 20th of the month to file the previous month’s Sales and Use tax return – but only until 3 PM on the 19th of the month to pay the amount due.

I’m a sales tax guy (my website is here), so I think in terms of Sales and Use tax, primarily, but the other tax types are in play as well. If the 20th falls on a weekend or holiday, you really only have until 3 PM on the Friday BEFORE the 20th to make your payment.

Most other states (and I file sales and use tax returns in 44 of them) allow the due date to slip back to the Monday or Tuesday AFTER the due date, if the due date falls on a weekend of holiday. Even those states whose due dates fall on the last day of the month allow the due date to slip to the Monday or Tuesday afterwards in this case. (I’m unsure why Georgia is the only state with this rule in place. But that’s a different article altogether.)

So, what happens if you fail to comply? The penalty is also spelled out in the new law:

Each failure to remit payment by EFT will result in the assessment of a 10% penalty of the payment due. An additional penalty equal to the greater of $25.00 or 5% of the entire tax due (before payments and credits) will be assessed for each return not submitted electronically.”

I’ll give credit to the policy makers at the Georgia Department of Revenue, though. They have finally carried through on a pledge that the State Revenue Commissioner made when he was appointed in 2003, to require as many taxpayers as possible to file and pay electronically.

Link to the House Bill 334

Link to my Website

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Filed under Georgia Government, Government Waste, Tax Issues

JSmith’s Email, The Response


If you’re reading this, I hope it’s because you read last night’s post about JSmith’s Nasy Email. If not, click here. We’ll wait.

One of the most important lessons I learned in my life as a “government insider” was the ability to answer correspondence of this kind of tone with patience and thoroughness. To illustrate, please see the abridged text of my response to my client’s employee’s husband (Oh, and don’t miss the constitutional history lesson!):

“Dear Mr. xxxxxx

“I have just received your email and wish to address your concerns. First, let me say how sorry I am that I have caused you such obvious alarm and concern. Having been in this business for some time, I perhaps take for granted that everyone understands the intricacies and peculiarities of alcohol law.

“Second, I am not an attorney, but an experienced consultant, who specializes in helping his clients navigate the processes of obtaining business and alcohol licenses in various municipal and state governments.  TaxTraxx (www.taxtraxx.com), is a company I started three years ago, after serving approximately eight years in numerous capacities at the Georgia Department of Revenue. My firm facilitates projects like this for a number of business across the southeast. To date, we have an excellent record of providing services to our clients and we work with individuals of many different nationalities. We also file Sales Tax returns for our clients in 44 of the 45 states that collect Sales and Use Tax (North Dakota is the only exception). On our website, you will see some case studies of services that we have provided for our clients.

‘In this case, my firm has been engaged by xxxxxx, whom I am copying on this message. xxxxxx specializes in the sale of convenience stores and other types of businesses. xxxxxx contracted my services for the purposes of securing business licenses and alcohol licenses for several xxxxxxxx stations in metro Atlanta that are being sold to independent owners.

 “The store where Mrs. xxxxxxx works, is being sold to xxxxxxx, which is 100% owned by a resident of xxxxxxx.  

“Because the new owner is not a resident of Georgia, the City of xxxxxxxx requires a United States Citizen who is a current employee of the business to be listed as “Registered Agent” for the purposes of securing the new alcohol license. The main purpose for a registered agent is to have a local (within Georgia) contact for process of service, or to send mail in the event that mail might be undeliverable to the business address. The current owner, xxxxxxxxx, and the new owner asked Mrs. xxxxxx if she would be willing to serve in this capacity on behalf of the xxxxxx. From experience, I know this to be a common practice among municipal governments – over the past three years, I have worked with more than 80 different municipalities in Georgia alone. In the city of xxxxxxx, this requirement is specifically governed by Section x-xx of the City Ordinance. On the state level, this requirement is governed by O.C.G.A 3-4-23.

“To answer your specific question about why we asked Mrs. xxxxxxxx for your information, I will direct you to the  Application for Sale of Distilled Spirits, Malt Beverages, and Wine .  Specifically, pp. 3, 6, 9 and 10 are those that Mrs. xxxxxx filled out with me today. Page 3 is the only place on the application that asks for spouse’s information. This information is requested for one purpose only – to provide proof that neither the applicant nor the applicant’s spouse are currently engaged in any other business(es) manufacturing, distributing or serving alcohol. As far as I am aware, none of these agencies are allowed to run credit checks. They are, however, allowed to run NCIC and GCIC criminal background checks, fingerprints, and to check that all tax returns have been filed and tax obligations paid to the relevant local and state governments.

“There is a great deal of legal history related to the manufacture, distribution, and sale of alcohol in the United States. As you know, the manufacture, distribution and sale of alcohol was prohibited by the 18th Amendment to the US Constitution in 1922 and that prohibition was repealed by the 21st Amendment in 1934. At the time that prohibition was lifted, the US Government went to great lengths to create a 3-tier system for the production, distribution and sale of alcohol in this country. Because of certain federal laws, still on the books, it is illegal to be a participant in more than one tier of the three-tier system at a given time (i.e. a person who owns a distillery cannot also own a distributorship or a retail establishment. Or, a person who owns a bar may not also manufacture distilled spirits.) There have been some very limited exceptions allowed under federal law, specifically wine tastings at vineyards and brewpubs, wherein malt beverages are both manufactured and sold at retail. However, these exceptions are tightly governed by other, equally stringent laws. (As a side note, both tobacco and motor fuel have similar 3-tier systems and laws in place.)

“To your point questioning the legality of inquiring about marital status, I believe you will find that this exclusion only applies to employment-related matters. Mrs. xxxxxx was neither being interviewed for a job, nor was she told that her job would be in jeopardy if she did not provide that information. As a general rule, it is not illegal to inquire about marital status.

‘Regarding your allegation that I would use your personal information for any benefit, I assure you that the only entities having access to your or your wife’s information will be the xxxxxx County Sheriff’s Department, the City of xxxxxxx and myself. I am keenly aware that this seems like an odd practice. Frankly, I’m surprised that in three years of private consulting, yours is the first protest of this kind that I have ever received.

“At this point, I do not have any of your personal information. I have submitted Mrs. xxxxxx’s information to the xxxxxx County Sheriff’s Office. The City of xxxxxx, though, will not accept this application, because it is incomplete without your information.

“In your message, you requested contact information for xxxxx Realty, which I am providing below:

xxxxxx

“My contact information follows in the signature.

“Mr. xxxxxx I applaud you for your concerns and for your candor. Again, I assure you that you have nothing to fear from me or from my associates regarding this application, your information or your wife’s information.

“I further hope that my response has given you a sample of the thoroughness I employ when completing a project and a feel for my experience level and discretion and that you will feel comfortable in asking any further questions you may have. The choice is yours and Mrs. xxxxxx’s, of course,  whether she continues as the Registered Agent on this application. If she decides to no longer be considered, the new owner will have to find someone else to fill this role. Regardless your decision, I wish you nothing but the best. Sincerely, P. Todd Kelly”

See? I gave him enough data and background information so that he could not object to my objections. I anticipated his follow up questions and answered them in this reply, mitigating his rejoinder. (Note: I don’t talk like that in real life.)

Let me know what you think. In part 3, I’ll share his response.

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Filed under Georgia Government, Government Waste, Tax Issues

JSmith’s Nasty Email


I don’t normally do this, but this was too interesting to miss. I’m going to share an email I received from the husband of an employee of one of my clients today. I believe he thinks I’m an identity theft.

I provide this as a public service to those who might be thinking that their email flames a lot.

“From: jsmithxxxx@xxxxx.com      (I don’t think that’s his real name.)

To: todd@taxtraxx.com
Todd Kelly,
 Why would you ask my wife about her marital status, want my name, drivers license, and social security number today, while discussing the change in ownership for the xxxxxxxx xx xxxxxxx with my wife?
  I am not an employee, nor have I proffered an application.
As you are aware, it is against the law to even ask about marital status,much less ask  very personal questions for which you have no legitimate purpose  and which serve no useful business purpose. 
Perhaps you thought because my wife is naturalised, her husband would not know US laws.I assure you that is not the case.I will legally protect my wife and my interests,and will not tolerate this egregious behavior, Mr Kelly. 
I will be checking to see if you have inquired about any of my personal information,sir, and will hold you legally accountable for any such actions.
 I want copies of everything you have regarding my wife and or myself immediately ,and complete (sic). I also want the name of the company(and principal) that hired you,as well as contact information for their legal council (sic).At this point I do not see a need to contact them, but will if things change.
If my wife suffers any  negative consequence as a  result of this, we will take legal action against you and the company that hired you.”  

So, some of you probably have received similar missives in response to just doing your job. Frankly, I used to get them all the time when I was a “government insider”. This is about the first one I’ve received in private life. And, in this case, I had a legitimate business reason for acquiring this gentleman’s information (his name, SSN and Driver’s License number), that being to complete a form his wife was filing to become a registered agent for a local alcohol license application in metro Atlanta, GA. It’s what I do almost every day. State and local law require that this information be on the form. I know it’s tasteless, but it’s the law.

Oh, and JSmith? It’s not his real name.

Thoughts anyone? I’d love to hear how you would respond.

In a separate post, I think I’ll share my response. Register now (top right corner) to be updated on this continuing saga.

Todd

BTW, I found the greatest marketing idea of all time – in a FREE book http://www.supertips.com/ultimate/x/?id=4781

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Filed under Georgia Government, Government Waste, Social Networking, Tax Issues

Why People Don’t Want To Be Lazy Entrepreneurs


Yesterday, I met a friend for coffee, who wanted to tell me about some new business ideas he has been working on. This friend, let’s call him Bill, is holding down a full-time job as an IT Developer with a fairly stable company. Bill, however, is a “lazy entrepreneur”. I’m sure you’ve heard the term before. A lazy entrepreneur is someone who keeps his day job while starting a new business or project on the side, working evening, weekends, and lunch breaks – sometimes to the detriment of those around him.

Another friend Andy has had ideas before,too. It seems like he has had three or four great ideas since we became acquainted a year or two ago. Now, though, Andy’s tone has become more serious. When he talks, he seems to be more focused on how and when he can give up his day job to become a full-time entrepreneur.

In my discussions with budding entrepreneurs, I often hear them comment about how frustrated they are with their current work situation and how they want to break free from their employer. These comments often leave me wondering whether these folks really want to make the leap into full-time entrepreneurship or just want to quit their jobs.

My advice to these people is simple – Don’t do it! Don’t give up a sure paycheck for a promise of a better one down the road. Don’t make the leap until you have done one of the following things:

1. Have actual sales or paying clients. I left my full-time job only AFTER securing our first paying clients.

2. Have a money-making website or system set up and actually making money. For example, if you’re going to be an affiliate marketer, make sure your system works and you haven’t bought into a scam.

3. Have at least six months cushion saved in the bank, in case your venture does not replace your income.

It’s that simple. If you have a job – keep it, even if you hate it. But that should be motivation enough to get you going.

If you’re someone who is like my friend Andy – I’d love to connect with you to see how if I can help you determine when and if you’re ready to “make the leap”, or to do the same thing I did. Let me help you find your big idea. I’m here to help you see how to turn your passions into profits.
Or, if you are interested in having me speak to your group, leave a comment below.

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Dirty Money Blueprint – Free Video


This free video is not for the skeptic. Johnny Andrews presents some reinforcement on how to keep this whole Internet marketing thing simple. He also shows why almost all of the “Get Rich Quick” video and coaching programs don’t work for 99% of people who buy them.

Click Here for your free video.

I’d love for you to come back here and comment on what you think.

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The Crisis Is In The Mail


I just enjoyed reading this very thorough article from CFO on the crisis at the US Postal Service and how their CFO believes that they can achieve profitability. Click Here to read the full article

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Filed under Government Waste, Tax Issues