Home Blog Page 374

Tips For Getting Your Driver’s License – How to Prepare For the Test Mentally and Emotionally

Everybody wants to pass their driver’s exam on the first attempt, but not everyone is able to. It doesn’t involve luck, either; whether you pass or not depends on how prepared you are and how much you learn beforehand. You need to pass both the written and road exams in order to get your license. The first is easier than the latter, so you need to study and practice extra hard in order to pass the road test.

So, how can you prepare yourself? The most obvious solution is to practice driving every single day. However, you can also learn some secrets, such as the things the examiner will be watching for. There are a lot of resources available on the internet filled with driving test secrets and tips that you’ll need to know in order to pass easily. Your DMV handbook that you have only offers some information. The test will require a lot more knowledge.

All the additional resources you’ll need for passing can be found online, including secrets, tips, videos, simulation software, and so forth. There are also practice tests you can take. They’re not only helpful for passing the written exam, but the road test as well. This is because some of the questions pertain to the things you should and shouldn’t do when taking road exam.

Even if you know everything, you still need to prepare you emotionally for the road test. For some, nervousness is the main contributing factor to whether they fail or pass. As such, you need to take things easy to night and morning before the test. Make sure you study well beforehand and don’t try cramming anything in your mind the last night. Eat breakfast, even if you don’t feel like doing so. It’ll provide you with the energy you need to help fight anxiety. Being well prepared, rested, and fed are the keys to passing your driving test and getting your driver’s license.

The Complete Stun Gun Buyers Guide (Part 2) – How to Select the Best Voltage

Welcome back! In the previous installment of this three-parts guide I discussed how to select the right stun gun shape for you (regular stun gun, mini stun gun, cell phone stun gun, or stun baton). It is the main goal for this second part of the stun gun article series to discuss how to choose the best voltage. Let’s get started!

Selecting the right voltage is one of the most confusing decisions people are faced with when buying stun guns. How high is too high a voltage? And conversely…How low is too low? Certainly, nobody wants to find themselves killing another human being, but they definitively don’t want to face an attacker with a low powered and ineffective non lethal weapon either.

“So how do I achieve the perfect balance between powerfulness and non lethality, in terms of voltage?”, most people ask. To understand the answer to that important question, first you need to understand the difference between “electric current (amperage)” and “voltage”. So…Are you ready to stroll down your school days memory lane? It will be interesting, I promise. So, let’s go!

If you remember your science classes, you will remember that an atom is the smallest portion into which an element can be divided and still retain its properties. It is composed of a positively charged nucleus surrounded by a system of electrons (negatively charged particles that orbits the nucleus of an atom). Many of those electrons are easily detachable from the rest of their atoms, and that allows them to travel from one place to another.

Consequently, an electric current is a flow of electrons traveling from one place to another. While a few flowing electrons equals low current, a great number of flowing electrons equals a high current. As the current increases, so does the lethality of the current (by the way, the electric current is measured by a unit called ampere – so the higher the amperage, the higher the current, and thus, the greater the lethality).

Voltage, on the other hand, represents the strength with which the electric current is made to move from one place to another. In other words, voltage refers to the amount of push that urges electrons to move. By itself, voltage cannot electrocute a person. Voltage depends on the intensity of the ampere (electric current) to do so.

It wasn’t that hard to understand, was it? Now, let’s apply what we’ve just learned to some specific examples: A high electric current (high ampere) combined with a relatively low voltage can result in lethality. Graphically: (High Electric Current) + (Low Voltage) = (Lethality). That’s why you can get a serious jolt from a 12-volt automobile battery: despite its low voltage, it can deliver a very high electric current of a hundred amperes or more!

However, a low electric current (low ampere) combined with a high voltage is definitively not lethal. Graphically: (Low Electric Current) + (High Voltage) = (Non Lethality). That’s precisely the case of stun guns.

In order to overcome the electrical resistance of the assailant’s body, stun guns use high voltage to forcefully push a relatively low electric current. Despite the high voltage electrical discharge they provide, stun devices actually don’t have enough current (amperage) to kill someone in normal circumstances. To give you an idea, it would take approximately one amp (6 billion-billion electrons passing by, every second) to kill a person (it must be said, however, that at least 200 milliamps (2/10 of an ampere) can make the heart beat uncontrollably (fibrillate), and thus can be fatal). But stun guns only have 3-4 milliamps, which is far below 200 milliamps, and farther below one amp. As a result, stun weapons are able to temporarily incapacitate an attacker for a few minutes without causing any lasting harm.

Which brings us back to our original question: “How do I achieve the perfect balance between powerfulness and non lethality, in terms of voltage?”. The correct answer is: Just get the highest voltage stun gun you can afford. It will only push a low (non lethal) current harder…and more effectively.

And why is that important? Again: because of the human body’s electrical resistance. “But what does electrical resistance mean specifically?”, you might ask. Well, it refers to the opposition that the human body presents to the flow of electricity. Because of electrical resistance, it will take a high voltage to force enough electrons through a person, in order to temporarily incapacitate him/her. While a low voltage may not be able to accomplish that task, a high voltage stun gun (by overcoming the body’s electrical resistance) will definitively increase the effectiveness of your lawful self defense strategy.

Getting the highest voltage stun gun you can get is also important because of additional factors that may affect the aggressor’s electric resistance. For instance, larger size persons require a stronger discharge than smaller individuals in order for your stun device to be effective. Likewise, if your attacker happens to be in a good physical condition, the required discharge might be higher as well. Because you must be ready to defend yourself no matter what your attacker’s physical characteristics are, as a general guideline we tend avoid stun weapons with less than 200,000 volts (TASER guns are the only exception, but they work on a completely different technology than stun guns). But again, the best guideline you can follow is to get the highest voltage stun device you can afford. You won’t regret you did.

Well, that’s it for this second installment of the stun gun buyers guide! You are now ready to select the best stun gun for you, taking into account its voltage. On the next -and last- installment of this article series, I’ll talk about adding rechargeable stun guns and disable pins into your buyer’s equation. Also, we will wrap up all three articles by choosing what we believe are the best stun guns per category (regular stun gun, mini stun gun, cell phone stun gun, or stun baton), using the acquired knowledge (shape vs. voltage vs. rechargeable capacity and disable pins). Be sure not to miss it!

How Much Does It Cost To Buy A Certain Kind Of Limo

Distinguished travelers in Dallas and Fort Worth often rely on the timely use of a Dallas limousine service. Perhaps you are planning a wedding, and would like to transport the wedding party and relatives to the wedding site in a luxurious manner. Young people going to a big prom often enjoy traveling together in style in a Dallas Limousine. Business people need on time and reliable transportation to and from all of the Dallas and Fort Worth-area airports, and limousines provide excellent DFW Airport Transportation. There are many different types of Dallas limos that are suitable for every need. You can choose from sedans, stretch limousines, SUV limos, as well as limo buses, limo vans and limo mini-buses. Limousine providers want to offer you the best in luxury travel, and it all starts with the vehicles they purchase for use. There are a few variables that can affect the price of buying a limousine.

If you think about auto prices in general, you realize that vehicles vary wildly in price range. For example, very broadly speaking, a regular automobile that cost $20,000 new, if turned into a stretch limousine, would instead run between $60,000-$80,000. New vehicles would obviously cost more than used, but the drawback is that the older vehicles will require more maintenance.

The cheapest limousine in purchase price is not always the best buy. A vehicle that is put together with inferior parts might initially cost less but will break down more often, costing more in maintenance and upkeep in the long run. A vehicle that is broken down and in the shop is not being rented and earning its keep, which needs to be factored into the cost of buying a limousine.

A new Lincoln Federal Silverstone 120″ limousine, which has a 4.6 liter V8 engine with automatic transmission will come in around $75,000. A Mini Cooper XXL Stretch limousine could run you between $66,000 and $90,000. But good things come in small packages, so this might be the investment vehicle for you. And it comes with a hot tub, no less.

A new Hummer H2 limousine might run between $165,000 to $220,000. This is luxury–driving in a vehicle that costs as much as a house! A 2007 BMW Stretch limousine, which is styled on the BMW 745i and includes a fax, not one but two phones, a laptop computer and a satellite receiver set for Internet access, will cost around $344,600 dollars. You will be happy to know that you get to select the color. At the outer limits, a 2007 Rolls-Royce Phantom Stretch limousine will take you for a whopping $1 million to $1.2 million.

In addition to the cost of the vehicles, limousine companies also must set aside funds for maintenance, insurance, payroll for employees, as well as procure a facility for storing the vehicles.

Antifreeze Is Important in Your Car Year Round

There are certain things that need to be done to a vehicle when any new season approaches to keep it in tip top shape. Depending on where you live, there might be more or less things to do for a particular season. People living in the north where it is cold might need to change to a different type of oil in colder months so it has a better viscosity in cold temperatures. People who live in the south might need to add more coolant to their engines to keep from overheating. But when it comes to certain elements in a car or its engine, they should be done and maintained year round. Keeping a safe level of anti-freeze in the car is something that should take place all the time.

The term anti-freeze in itself is a bit misleading. Sure, it keeps the engine from seizing up during cold winter days by combining with the water in the engine components to keep from freezing. But the makeup of the anti-freeze is also more important for other things in the summer. It acts as a coolant so that the engine does not overheat and your car won’t break down on the side of the road.

Anti-freeze is a chemical mixture that works to lower the freezing point of the compounds within the engine. It shouldn’t matter how far below zero the air temperature drops, as long as there is sufficient anti-freeze in the system, the engine will run. That’s not to say that the oil pan might not need a heater placed on it though! Extremely cold climates require heaters to be placed on a vehicle so that the oil will warm up and not seize up in an engine too.

The reverse is also true of anti-freeze. The chemical makeup keeps the liquids within the engine from reaching a boiling point, therefore keeping the engine from overheating. This is especially important in the south and west where temperatures can soar. If anti-freeze leaks out of an engine, it needs to be refilled quickly no matter what time of year so that the engine continues to run. The leak will also need to be located so it can be repaired so it does not happen again.

Regular checks of the anti-freeze will ensure the levels stay where they need to be all year long. If the anti-freeze looks dirty, then there might be trouble lurking on the horizon for your vehicle and a technician can look for a problem. They can also add clean anti-freeze and get it to the correct level so the engine continues to run at an optimal level and you aren’t stranded on the side of the road in extreme conditions.

Convenience at What Cost?

Imagine you and your family are sitting down at a restaurant. You order the establishment’s signature entrĂ©e and are treated to 1/3 pound of grade-B beef which has been fried and covered with watery ketchup, bitter mustard, and bits of what may generously be called “onions.” Surely this would be unacceptable at a quality restaurant. Continue on this imaginary evening, and think about taking your family to see a show at the local theater. You are sitting in your seats enjoying the performance, but every seven minutes the curtain falls and a very enthusiastic man shouts from the stage how much better your life would be if only you would go out and buy this-or-that product. No one in their right mind would sit through that, yet we seem perfectly willing to accept low-end food, poorly-made goods, and underhanded selling tactics as long as we are able to buy said merchandise quickly, cheaply and conveniently. Since their inception, fast food, advertisements, and “big box” retail have had several deleterious effects on American health and culture.

Fast food, while often expedient, is unhealthy. It is common knowledge now that most (if not all) of the food served via drive-through window contains frighteningly high levels of sodium, carbohydrates and cholesterol. In his Tufts University article “Who’s Losing the Burger Battle?” Irwin Rosenberg lists the caloric content in several fast food chains’ premium sandwiches. Hardee’s Six-Dollar Burger contains 890 calories, Burger King’s Steakhouse XT Burger weighs in with 970, and Denny’s Western Burger sits atop the greasy mountain with a staggering 1160 calories. Just to clarify, these measurements do not account for French fries, beverages or extra condiments. Awareness of the health risks associated with fast food is certainly more widespread than it used to be, but according to David Hogan’s article “Fast Food,” books and articles about the high-fat, low-quality products used by fast food establishments have been printed since the 1930s (Hogan, 565). In addition to providing a nightmarish dietary staple, fast food restaurants can also widen the gap between us consumers and the source of our food. The food itself is rarely memorable or special to us. It appears before us fully formed, an instantly-available placeholder for what we should be eating. In “Feeding Our Future,” Michael Ableman suggests that more people ought to eat “whole food-food that tastes better because it’s grown in living soil and harvested locally, food that makes clear the relationship between human health and the health of the Earth” (Ableman, 563). It seems that the only redeeming value to be found in fast food is its eponymous speed. I recently visited a particular sandwich shop and was mightily impressed when I was able to order, pay, and receive my food in literally less than three minutes. Of course, the brevity and ease of my experience did little to assuage the gastrointestinal distress I later suffered because of the oil and fat inherent in convenient comestibles. Fast food, however, is not the only example of the health and cultural sacrifices we make for the sake of convenience.

Big box retail stores have negative impacts on the individual and the community. From the moment you walk through the sliding glass doors and step onto the linoleum or concrete tiles of your local Walmart (or Target, or K-Mart, as the case may be) you may start to instantly disconnect from the world around you. Personally, I often feel like I’m in a strange sort of bubble when I shop at mass retail outlets. The other shoppers are just ghosts pushing squeaky-wheeled phantom carts down the aisles into the fluorescently-lit void. Going into the store late at night creates even more of an isolated feeling. In their article “Walmart: Everyday Low Prices,” Peter Singer and Jim Mason cite a recent report that claims Walmart employs 1.6 million people (Singer & Mason, 588), yet with the advent of self-checkout and the sheer size of most of their stores, it is possible to literally spend hours shopping and not encounter another person. This creates what I consider to be an inhospitable shopping environment not only because of the eerie lonely feeling it can produce, but also because with no employees around, receiving customer service is impossible. Judging by their ubiquitous signs, banners and slogans, Walmart seems to take much pride in being an American company offering American goods but on closer inspection, their patriotism seems questionable at best. According to Singer and Mason, in 1993 Walmart sold clothes which they claimed were manufactured in the USA but, as was revealed later, were made by child workers in Bangladesh (Singer & Mason, 590). Walmart continues to maintain their low prices by selling goods that are mostly of international origin. Singer and Mason state that in 2005, Walmart spent $18 billion on Chinese products (Singer & Mason, 590). Can there be any doubt that Walmart is partially responsible for America’s dependence on foreign wares? In their PBS article “Is Walmart Good for America?” Hendrick Smith and Rick Young state that nearly 80 percent of Walmart’s 6000 suppliers are located in China. Furthermore, the advertising for these and other goods and services can cause harm to consumers.

Advertising can hurt potential buyers in ways that may not be obvious. Subliminal messages, which have been a mainstay of television advertising for decades, can affect peoples’ thoughts and moods about a product, which seems to me like an infringement on free will. It was once thought that subliminal advertisements were just an urban myth, but according to a Discovery News article called “Subliminal Messages Work, at Least Sometimes”, evidence now exists that our decisions can be influenced by suggestions we receive unconsciously. One of the best examples that I have seen of this advertising tactic is a Chevrolet commercial from 1959. It features a happy couple singing about the wondrous new automobile arriving in showrooms throughout the nation and, if you pause the video at exactly the right frame, it is possible to glimpse images of the car with a very attractive couple inside. A more modern example of subliminal advertising is during a commercial for KFC’s Snacker sandwich. The ad shows a very enticing picture of the sandwich while an announcer talks about what a great value it is. By looking very closely during the last second or two of the ad you can clearly see a dollar bill in the sandwich’s lettuce. Of course, advertising can also influence people to buy more expensive items without using subliminal messages. Simply by using pleasant, appealing images and slogans, advertisements can promote the idea that a certain brand is superior to its competitors even if no such superiority exists. This emphasis on product labels is far from new. In “The Marlboro Man,” James Twitchell quotes 1940s advertising guru David Ogilvy as saying that if consumers were given a drink of Old Crow and told it was Jack Daniels, they would enjoy it more than if they knew it was Old Crow (Twitchell, 472). For a more modern perspective, consider Craig Nicholson’s article “Great Expectations,” from the February, 2008 issue of Nature Reviews Neuroscience which recounts a study involving “Volunteers [who] were given various wines to sample, two of which were presented twice with wildly different price tags. The volunteers reported greater enjoyment […] when they believed them to be expensive…” (Nicholson, 163). It seems that, as much as our society has progressed in the last 50 years, we are still tasting images. Why is this a problem? Because when we emphasize status symbols like brand names, I believe we are prone to make very poor decisions about how to spend our money. Advertising also seems to be a contributing factor in our ever-shortening attention span. As viewers get used to having information presented in smaller and smaller bits, advertising must try and keep pace. In his New York Times Article “Advertising,” Stuart Elliot says that when television was a brand-new medium advertisements were usually around one minute in length, but by 1971 the average length was only 30 seconds and in 2005, Cadillac unveiled the first 5-second commercial (Elliot, New York Times 04/2005). It seems like this trend is likely to continue.

It is ironic that as our society becomes more complex, we strive harder for simplicity. We want everything in life to be as quick and as easy as possible but if all gratification becomes instant, I fear that we will forget the satisfaction that comes from working (or at least waiting) for what we desire. We will lose appreciation for the effort put into creating the goods that we use every day. In the short time they have existed, advertising, mass retail and fast food have already had such a negative impact on our health and culture. Imagine the impact they will have in decades to come.

The Importance of Insurance Reviews

Most people reach out to their insurance brokers or underwriters when there is a significant event in their lives that necessitates new or revised risk coverage – perhaps when they purchase a new home or it’s time to trade-in the old car. However, far fewer remember to review their insurance at regular intervals or when more subtle changes to their coverage requirements occur.

Reviewing your insurance regularly helps ensure your coverage is what you expect it to be in the unfortunate circumstance that you need to file a claim. It also aids in making informed decisions regarding coverage and being proactive about minimizing your insurance costs.

There are many different circumstances that could possibly change your coverage requirements and prompt a call to an insurance professional for a review. The examples below identify some of the instances in which you might want to review your coverage:

  • Renovations – If you perform renovations to your house, it is likely that you are also increasing its value. Whether it’s a new kitchen, bathroom, pool, or even expensive landscaping, remember to check your policy limits to ensure they remain adequate in case of an insured loss. If you’ve recently renovated your basement, also note it is quite likely that your water damage insurance needs to be reviewed.
  • You’ve been accumulating possessions – Have you done a home inventory lately? Most people have more personal possessions than they think. Estimating the total value of your contents is vital to helping ensure your limits are adequate.
  • You’ve purchased a high value item – Remember that some of your personal possessions have to be scheduled to be properly covered. Jewellery, antiques, collectibles, wine collections, and art are a few examples of pieces that may require additional coverage.
  • New coverages have become available – The insurance industry frequently adapts to changing market conditions and offers coverage in areas that it has not in the past. For homeowners, insurance for overland water damage and home repair issues (such as broken furnaces) have recently become available from some insurers, in some areas. In addition, legal expense insurance, travel insurance, and pet insurance are available from brokers looking to cover more of your risk and insurance needs.
  • Laws changing to give you more or less choice – Changes to automobile accident benefits mean you should review your choices.
  • You become eligible for additional discounts – Changes in your personal circumstances may affect your eligibility for policy discounts. For example, if you install an alarm system you are likely eligible for a discount on your homeowner policy. If you use snow tires on your vehicle, many insurers offer a discount on your car insurance policy. If you pass the age of 50-55, you may become eligible for mature driver discounts.
  • If you change jobs and have a shorter commute – You should report this to your insurance broker as driving less typically correlates to lower risk and less expensive premiums. If you have a certain job occupation, you may also be eligible for lower insurance rates.
  • You’ve started a home business – A different use of your home, other than strictly residential, may require business insurance to properly cover liability risks.
  • Your personal circumstances change – If you get married or have children, you may want to review your coverage to ensure your coverage levels are adequate to look after your dependents in case of an accident.
  • Your child gets a driver’s licence – Always check to see if your child can be added to your policy. It is often the least expensive option for insuring them to drive. If they get their own car, you are also probably eligible for a multi-car discount.
  • If your child moves away to attend college or university – Check to see if your homeowners coverage can be extended to protect your child’s assets while away at school. It may be more cost-effective that purchasing a standalone tenants insurance policy.
  • If you haven’t had an insurance review in more than a year – Your coverage levels may be out of date. A key example of this is your home insurance. Property values and replacement costs can easily rise to the point that your existing coverage limits do not allow for the total reconstruction of your home in the case of a total loss.

Taking the time to speak to your insurance professional is always time well spent. Even if you don’t save on your insurance costs after the call, there is no substitute for having the coverage you expect when a claim becomes necessary. Since most insurance policies are for the term of one-year, it is a good idea to speak to your insurance professional before renewing your annual coverage.

Principles of Accounting and Accounting Assumptions

In the modem world no business can afford to remain secretive because various parties such as creditors, employees, taxation authorities, investors, public and government etc., are interested to know about the affairs of the business. Affairs of the business can be studied mainly by consulting final accounts and the balance sheet of the particular business. Final accounts and the balance sheet are end products of book-keeping. Because of the importance of these statements it became necessary for the accountants to develop some principles, concepts and conventions which may be regarded as fundamentals of accounting. Such fundamentals having wide acceptance give reliability and creditability to the financial statements prepared by the accountants. The need for ‘generally accepted accounting principles’ arises for two reasons: First, to be logical and consistent in recording the transactions and second, to conform to, the established practices and procedures.

There is no agreement among the accountants as regards the basic concepts of accounting. There is no uniformity in generally accepted accounting principles (GAPP). The terms-axioms, assumptions, conventions, concepts, generalizations, methods, rules, doctrines, techniques, postulates, standards and canons are used freely and inconsistently in the same sense.


“A general law or rule, adopted or professed as a guide to action, a settled ground or basis of conduct or practice.” This definition given by dictionaries comes nearest to describing what most accountants mean by the word ‘Principle’. Care should be taken to make it clear that as applied to accounting practice, the world principle, does not connote a rule for which there can be no deviation. An accounting principle is not a principle in the sense that it admits of no conflict with other principles.


Mean to assume without proof, to take for granted or positive consent, a position assumed as self- evident. Postulates are assumptions but they are not arbitrary deliberate assumptions but generally recognized assumptions which reflect the judgment of ‘facts’ or trend or events, assumptions which have been borne out in past by facts supposed by legal institutions making them enforceable to some extent.


Mean principles of belief: what the scriptures teach on any subject. It refer to an established principle propagated by a teacher which is followed in strict faith. But in accounting practice, no such doctrine need be adhered to but the word denotes the general principles or policies to be followed.


Denotes a statement of truth which cannot be questioned by anyone.


Refer to the basis expected in accounting practice, under different circumstances. In Indian context, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) constituted an Accounting Standards Board on 21st April, 1977. The main function of ASB is to formulate accounting standards taking into consideration the applicable laws, customs, usages and business environment.

Accounting Assumptions

The International Accounting Standards Committee (lASC) as well as the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) treat (vide IAS-I & AS-I) the following as the fundamental accounting assumptions:

(1) Going concern

In the ordinary course, accounting assumes that the business will continue to exist and carry on its operations for an indefinite period in the future. The entity is assumed to remain in operation sufficiently long to carry out its objects and plans. The values attached to the assets will be on the basis of its current worth. The assumption is that the fixed assets are not intended for re-sale. Therefore, it may be contended that a balance sheet which is prepared on the basis of record of facts on historical costs cannot show the true or real worth of the concern at a particular date. The underlying principle there is that the earning power and not the cost is the basis for valuing a continuing business. The business is to continue indefinitely and the financial and accounting policies are followed to maintain the continuity of the business unit.

(2) Consistency

There should be uniformity in accounting processes and policies from one period to another. Material changes, if any, should be disclosed even though there is improvement in technique. A change of method from one period to another will affect the result of the trading materially. Only when the accounting procedures are adhered to consistently from year to year the results disclosed in the financial statements will be uniform and comparable.

(3) Accrual

Accounting attempts to recognize non-cash events and circumstances as they occur. Accrual is concerned with expected future cash receipts and payments: it is the accounting process of recognizing assets, liabilities or income for amounts expected to be received or paid in future. Common examples of accruals include purchases and sales of goods or services on credit, interest, rent (not yet paid), wages and salaries, taxes. Thus, we make record of all expenses and incomes relating to the accounting period whether actual cash has been disbursed or received or not. If a fundamental accounting assumption (i.e. Going concern, consistency and accrual) is not followed (in the preparation of financial statements) the fact should be disclosed. [AS-I para 27].

Tax Considerations for Self-Employed Consultants: Auto Expenses and More

Mary Kay, Lia Sophia, Silpada, 5Linx, Pampered Chef – to name a few…. These are just a handful of the self-employed consultants in the work world. Many of them are sole proprietors who have little to no understanding of the tax implications associated with it, the tax deductions available to them, or what they need to do to file taxes.

It is extremely important not to co-mingle deductible expenses with personal expenses. Opening a bank account for the business will help keep the expenses separate. This should be one of the first things on the list of “to-do’s” when beginning a business. A special tax treatment applies to start-up expenses-expenses incurred prior to opening the business. Therefore, these receipts must be kept separate from the receipts for general operating expenses.

One type of deduction that helps to reduce the overall tax liability is the auto expense deduction. Auto expenses are deductible either by using the standard mileage rate or actual expenses. The standard mileage rate is the easier method as you simply multiply the current rate ($.555 for 2012) by the total number miles. When using the standard mileage rate, a mileage log will need to be presented in the event of an audit to substantiate the deduction. The actual expense method requires you to keep detailed records reflecting the actual cost of related expenses such as gas, oil, insurance, repairs, maintenance, licenses, car washes and depreciation. If you use a vehicle for both business and personal purposes, the expenses will have to be divided proportionately.

While most business owners are aware of the deduction for meals and entertainment, they must be careful to keep accurate records when claiming deductions for these expenses. The records should contain the date of the meal or event, the name of the person they met with and the topic of conversation when possible. Meals that are consumed during the everyday course of business are not deductible. However, generally 50% of the cost of meals consumed when traveling for business purposes can be used to reduce taxable income.

The IRS allows a home-based business deduction for self-employed taxpayers if they meet certain requirements. The home must be used regularly and exclusively for business. When taking advantage of the home-based business deductions, a percentage of other expenses pertaining to the home are deductible as well. The amount of deductible expenses is subject to specific limitations and ordering provisions. Please consult a tax professional for guidance.

This article contains general tax information for taxpayers. Each tax situation may be different, so do not rely upon this information as your sole source of authority. Please seek professional advice for all tax situations. Tax professionals are experts who keep current on tax law changes. They can save you time and offer insight on how to use the tax breaks available to you.

Replacing Linkage Pins and Bushes on Mini Excavator – Part One

Doing the necessary checks

It is critical to replace the linkage pins and bushes before they wear out. If you do not do this the structure of the mini excavator will also wear down and this is a much more costly problem to fix, in comparison to the cost of the pins and bushes which are relatively cheap to replace. It would be unhealthy for your business to let your excavator machine wear down when this can be avoided by making small repairs.

When you are doing this maintenance to your mini excavator, you first of all need to identify the parts that need replacing. To do this, you need to check all the joints to see if there are any excess play and movement in them. There should not be any movement side-to-side, and the pins should not rattle in the joint. When you have done these checks you should now have a list of the pins and bushes that you require. Look for a reputable supplier for these parts.

It is important that you make sure that the parts you have purchased are properly hardened, this means that both the pins and bushes have been heat treated in order to make them hard wearing so that they last longer. Pins and bushes are subjected to a lot of strain so you do not want these parts breaking early or wearing too fast. You will find that some suppliers will offer you un-hardened pins which are often slightly cheaper than hardened ones. However, you should avoid purchasing these parts because they will wear very fast and cause problems later on.

Replacing the pins

Once you have all the parts that you require, you need to start replacing them.

  1. Before you fit the new pins and bushes you need to remove the existing ones that need replacing.
  2. The pins should simply un-bolt and pull out. Be aware however that when you are taking out the pins which hold the excavator arm into place, you may need somebody to help you secure it. Perhaps you may even need a forklift, overhead crane or another excavator to support the arm as you take it apart.

Removing the bushes and replacing them is more difficult than the pins. For our guide on how to do this read our ‘Replacing Linkage Pins and Bushes on Mini Excavators- Part Two’ article. This will support you when replacing them tricky bushes.

LPG Subsidies: Pros and Cons

Recently some of us were invited by IOC on SMS to be a part of the nation building process by giving up our subsidies on LPG. This follows the appeal of our PM to the affluent to do the same. A bold request in a highly price sensitive country and on an even more politically sensitive subject.

The Govt and Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) have economic reasons for doing so. Let’s take a look at some of the numbers here. The total under recoveries of OMCs as of FY14 is a whopping $24billion out of which LPG accounts for 33%. In FY 16 alone the subsidy is around $6.5billion So then should we eliminate this subsidy?

Fuel subsidies were part of the socialist policies of our Government post-Independence to protect consumer interests against volatile price movements. Another agenda was to help the people especially in the villages to upgrade from firewood and kerosene to a cleaner fuel. However over the years the biggest challenge of the policy makers has been to ensure that subsidies reached the targeted segment. Black marketing, underground refills and subsidy leakages are perhaps the biggest negatives of this policy. The misuse of domestic subsidized cylinders for commercial purposes as in hotels and hazardous trends like using it in automobiles and refilling of gas lanterns prevailed till recently inspite of the fact that it is a non-bailable offence in India.

Implementation of recommendations to address these issues is by itself a task as there are a lot of socio economic factors involved. Capping of Cylinders per connection and introduction of Direct transfer Benefit Schemes (DBT) are some steps which aim at eliminating these malpractices.

Another major drawback has been the benefits not reaching the poor. A statistic reveals that more than 50% of the LPG subsidy is received by the richest 30% of Indian population, whereas the poorest 30% receive a meagre 15% of the total subsidy disbursed.

So that brings us back to the question of whether we need to continue with subsidy Raj. The middle income salaried class would answer in the affirmative. For this section of the society already burdened with taxes and EMIs a little relief via cooking fuel subsidy is always welcome. In certain metros people have the option of choosing from other alternative cooking fuels which are cheaper.

The rural poor are the ones who would benefit the most if these schemes are made available to them. Greater penetration and efficient distribution in these areas where firewood and kerosene are still used would help gain acceptance of LPG as an alternative. Transition into a less polluting fuel also has its health benefits. DBT would probably eliminate the misuse of the funds.

Fine tuning of the structure like pricing against affordability as recommended by CEEW coupled with a wider distribution network to reach the remotest of villages is needed. Diversion of savings on account of people opting out of subsidized LPG to benefit the truly needy. Currently around 3 lakh consumers have heeded to the request and have opted out of the Subsidy Scheme. A small number, but nevertheless a big step in the right direction. When the benefits of policies reach the poorest sections of the country the true process of Nation building has begun.