My belief is that if you run a business properly and have competent counsel, the tricks of the trade and opportunities for tax savings are things that are best discussed on a case-by-case basis with your accountant. There is no one size fits all answer. I have no secret formula to pay little or no taxes, however I can provide some tips here to keep your business running more smoothly and with fewer tax-related crises. Tip #1 Taxes are not a do-it-yourself project. Selecting an accountant should be a careful process. It should never be based on the size of a refund or how fast you will get your money back. You should ask if they are a CPA (state licensed) or an enrolled agent (licensed by the IRS). Tip #2 The IRS agents like to say if it isn't in writing, it never happened. Good record keeping is a must for any business. I suggest you pay for as many expenses as you can with a debit or credit card so you have some trail of where you spent your money even if you lose receipts. Cash is the absolute worst way to pay for expenses. Tip #3 Deposit 100% of your income and make sure income deposited equals income reported on the top line of your tax return. Virtually every IRS fraud case involves unreported income. If you follow what I stated above you will very likely never be investigated for tax fraud provided your expenses are reasonable for the type of business you are engaged in. Remember there is rarely a valid excuse for "forgetting" any appreciable amount of income Tip #4 In general ask your tax advisor about claiming the standard mileage rate for auto expenses unless you drive less than 15,000 business miles a year or have a compelling need for a very expensive vehicle. I have found the convenience of the mileage rate method and the reduced record keeping that accompanies it saves my clients considerable time and money. The issue here is how much burden do you want in keeping gas receipts and other records related to auto maintenance. Tip #5 I recommend routinely filing extensions on March 1st if you have not already filed your returns by that date. This protects you in the event of sickness, injury, floods, fires, etc. You are thus allowed until October 15 to file. It takes five minutes, and it's free. You have to pay any tax due by April 15, but you will save needless penalties for late filing by getting a preventative extension "just in case". Tip #6 Most horse businesses cannot claim bad debts. If you never reported income, you cannot claim income you never reported as a bad debt. In other words if owner Jones fails to pay your training bill, it's bad luck; take him or her to court, but the IRS will not feel your pain. Tip #7 If you lose 1099's you received during the year and you absolutely cannot get them from the payer, wait until August to file and ask the IRS for a wage and income statement. I have clients who show up with no records for many years. I often use IRS records to help reconstruct income where records have been lost. Tip #8 Don't hand your tax preparer unopened envelopes. We aren't psychics, and it's a great time waster. I often drop my fee up to 20% if a client is very well organized and has good records that are well organized. Tip #9 Many horsepersons tell me they cannot afford health insurance. The reality is you cannot afford not to have health insurance. It's tax deductible and in some cases subsidized under the Affordable Health Care Act. There are now penalties for not having health insurance as well. Medical expenses cause more bankruptcies than any other reason. I cannot emphasize enough how I feel about this topic. Tip #10 Be sure that you have a business plan. Again, not only is this essential for you as a business owner to plan how you will run your business and to forecast your expenses and income, but it also tells the IRS that you are putting the effort and planning into a true business and not a just a hobby. Larry Rosenblum, E.A., MBA, is an enrolled agent and president of The Equine Tax Group a national tax firm specializing in representing the horseperson before the IRS and State tax departments. Rosenblum retired from the IRS after a 33-year career, which saw him involved in numerous cases involving the equine industry. He can be reached at (888) 338-3999 or equinetaxgroup.com.
Agriculture Department Issues Equine Herpesvirus Quarantine for Bucks County Race Track Harrisburg - The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture today issued a strict quarantine order at Parx Racing in Bensalem, Bucks County, after a horse stabled at the track tested positive for Equine Herpesvirus, Type 1. Some horses at the track came into contact with the positive horse and have shown clinical signs of the disease, ranging from fever to neurological impairment. The horses remain under quarantine until test results are completed. There is no threat to human health from Equine Herpesvirus. Barns housing the positive horse and horses showing signs of the virus are quarantined for at least 21 days. Horses must be free of clinical signs for 21 days and test negative for the disease before the quarantine can be lifted. Under the quarantines, movement of horses on and off the track is restricted. Quarantined horses are not permitted to train and strict sanitary and biosecurity standards are enforced. The highly contagious virus causes upper respiratory infection and severe neurological disease in horses. Horse owners with concerns may call the Department of Agriculture's Bureau of Animal Health and Diagnostic Services at 717-772-2852. Media contact: Samantha Elliott Krepps, 717-787-5085
Elimination races for both the Cardinal and Violet two-year-old ICF stakes will be contested Friday night at Maywood Park. With all six-horse fields, a freshman pacer only needs to beat out two horses in an elim to advance to next week’s finals. With division leader PQ Three and Orange and Blue Colt winner Cotton Eyed Joe absent, the Nick Prather trained Unlocked will likely be a heavy favorite for next Friday’s $55,000 (est.) Cardinal Championship. Unlocked will open as the 7-5 morning line choice in race nine, the second Cardinal elimination division. The Duneside Perch colt was not eligible for Super Night and hasn’t competed since he dropped a photo to PQ Three on August 25 in the Governor’s Cup at Du Quoin. However, Unlocked drew off in a Springfield qualifier on Tuesday by 21 lengths, pacing a :26.4 last quarter at the end of a 1:54.4 mile for trainer Nick Prather. The colt has also showed a fondness for Maywood’s half-mile oval. Earlier in the summer he breezed to victories in the $12,000 Enzo The Baker and Fox Valley Barzgar stakes and then pulled away by 11 lengths in a Illinois Stallion Stake at the Charleston Fair in late July. Even though Unlocked has 6 season victories in 8 starts and a pair of seconds at both State Fair Championships, his $51,587 earnings are only third best among the 12 horses entered for the Cardinal. The Dirk Simpson trained Traffic Cop (9-5, Todd Warren), the fifth race first Cardinal elim favorite, has $60,735 on his card, and Fox Valley Cupid (2-1, Ryan Anderson) has made $53,355 for the Mike Schufler Stable and the Yankee Skyscraper gelding has done it despite going winless in his first 10 career starts. Fox Valley Cupid earned a hefty $44,000 with his game second place finish in the O&B Final, losing by only a neck to Cotton Eyed Joe for his quartet of Illinois owners. My Little Bit and Thesleazyprincess, the top two leaders in the ICF freshman filly division, renew their rivalry in the first race initial Violet elimination and both are making their half-mile debuts Thesleazyprincess (9-5, Mike Oosting) has annexed both the Orange and Blue Filly and Loyal Opposition crowns at Balmoral for trainer Nelson Willis, while the Erv Miller Stable’s My Little Bit (8-5, Casey Leonard) took both the Springfield and Du Quoin titles. The fourth race second Violet elim brings out Molly Go Lightly (9-5, Oosting) and Fox Valley Shiver (8-5, Todd Warren); two talented fillies who didn’t get a chance to show what they can do on Super Night. Molly Go Lightly won her Orange and Blue elimination but had to be scratched in the final because of sickness. The Willis trainee bounced back with an easy triumph in the Thrifty Way stake at Balmoral. Fox Valley Shiver, the runner-up to My Little Bit in the Springfield Final, wasn’t eligible to the Orange and Blue. She’s been off a month but she also qualified impressively Tuesday morning at Springfield when she was 19 lengths the best in 1:56 with her trainer Dirk Simpson in the bike. Both Fox Valley Shiver and Kiwi Party (4-1, John De Long) are making their Maywood Park debuts however they spent the summer on the County Fair Circuit and should get around the half-mile turns just fine. Oosting drove six winners and De Long had four winning drives on Maywood’s 12-race Thursday evening card. By Mike Paradise The Illinois Harness Horsemen's Association
ELORA, ON — Ontario’s two-year-old pacing colts return to Grand River Raceway on Friday, Sept. 13 for the first time since they thrilled fans in the 2013 edition of the Battle Of Waterloo. This year’s champion Three Of Clubs headlines the group of 19 hopefuls heading to the Elora oval for three Gold Series divisions and the colt will start from Post 7 in the second $70,000 split, aiming to get back to business after missing the Aug. 24 Metro Pace Eliminations due to sickness. Guelph resident Gregg McNair trains Three Of Clubs and shares ownership on the winner of $116,367 with Tony Lawrence of Hanover and Shady Hill Racing Stable of Durham. Through six lifetime starts the Mach Three son boasts a record of three wins and two thirds, with his 1:53.4 personal best coming in the Aug. 5 Battle Of Waterloo Final. Arthur Blue Chip won his Battle Of Waterloo Elimination and finished third in the Final, but the Shadow Play son has been flawless ever since, capturing his Nassagaweya division and Metro Pace Elimination at Mohawk Racetrack. Considered one of the favourites for the $683,000 Metro Pace Final, Arthur Blue Chip was scratched due to sickness just one day before the event went postward, so Friday’s event is also a rebounding opportunity for the winner of $194,495. Dr. Ian Moore of Guelph conditions Arthur Blue Chip and shares ownership of the colt with his partners in the Shadow One Stable of Guelph. The colt will make his eighth lifetime start from Post 2 in the last Gold division, hoping to pad a resume that includes five wins, one third and a personal best 1:51.2. In addition to their stable stars, McNair and Moore will harness three other hopefuls on Friday. McNair sends out Crafty Master from Post 6 in the third division, while Moore will start Play It Again Sam from Post 6 in the first division and Im Drinkin Doubles from Post 5 in the second. Grand River Raceway’s Friday evening program begins at 7:05 pm and the exciting two-year-old pacing colt battles will take place in Races 2, 6 and 10. For complete entries For up to date point standings, race replays, and more Sandra Snyder
INNISFIL, ON — Saturday evening’s Ontario Sires Stakes event at Georgian Downs saw all five divisions captured by freshman trotting colts who had never won a Gold Series contest. After struggling through the first two legs of the Gold Series Deweykeepumnwhy dropped down to the Grassroots in late July and picked up a pair of victories. Those confidence boosters paid off on Saturday as the gelding battled to a neck victory in the fourth Gold Series split, stopping the Georgian Downs teletimer at 1:57.4. Ronald Parsons conditions Deweykeepumnwhy for Norah Parks of New Lowell, and Mario Baillargeon engineered the Deweycheatumnhowe son’s third straight victory. Massacaia and driver Trevor Henry clocked the quickest mile of the five $42,000 Gold divisions, hitting the wire one and one-quarter lengths on top in 1:57.2. The Muscle Mass son also used the Grassroots program as a springboard to success at the Gold level. After making breaks in the first two Gold Series events, Massacaia came into Saturday’s event off an Aug. 8 win in the Grassroots program at Mohawk Racetrack. Richard Moreau trains Massacaia for Gestion Jean Yves Blais of Montreal, QC. The colt now has two wins through four starts. With Mid-Summer Challenge winner Muscle Matters scratched out of the third division due to sickness, Valorscross seized the opportunity to score his first lifetime win, battling up the outside to a 1:58.2 clocking for owner-trainer-driver Eddie Green of Ohsweken. The other two Gold Series divisions were captured by Entranced in 1:57.3 and Massive Muscles in 1:58.2. The two-year-old trotting colts make their fifth and final regular season Gold Series start at Mohawk Racetrack on Sept. 20. Ontario Sires Stakes racing returns to Georgian Downs on Tuesday, Aug. 20 when the three-year-old pacing fillies square off in their fourth Grassroots test. For complete results. For up to date point standings, race replays, and more. Sandra Snyder
WASHINGTON, PA, Aug. 14, 2013 — Palm Beach, confidently handled by Brett Miller, pulled the pocket before the final turn and rolled to victory in a stake-record 1:53.4 in Wednesday’s $100,000 Pennsylvania Stallion Series event at The Meadows. The stake for 2-year-old filly pacers was contested over five divisions, with McVita Bella, Lucy’s Pearl, Myrichmothernlaw and Dragon Town also taking $20,000 splits. Miller piloted Dragon Town to give him a stake double among his five wins on the 16-race card. Palm Beach had been getting checks in Pennsylvania Sires Stakes so was enjoying class relief. Miller, however, said there was a more important factor in her record-setting performance. “When they scoped her after her race last week, she was sick with mucous — eight on a scale of 10,” Miller said. “They wanted to put her in a little cheaper class to brave her back up. She definitely feels like she’s getting over her sickness. She was grabbing on and wanting to go.” Palm Beach downed Legal Process by 2-3/4 lengths, with Corona With Lime third. Michael Hall trains the daughter of Somebeachsomewhere-Duncans Artsplace for Rojan Stables, Howard Taylor and Lightning 5 Racing Stable. McVita Bella completed a sweep of her four stallion series preliminary divisions, although she needed a late miscue by the apparent winner to do it. Uffizi Hanover crossed the wire first but was placed back to sixth for an extended gallop in the stretch. Starnight Dancer was promoted to second while Cams Dali was fourth-placed-third. “She did get a gift; it’s always nice to get a little lucky,” said winning driver Mike Wilder. “She’s definitely a threat in the championship. You couldn’t ask for a filly with a better attitude.” John Butenschoen conditions the daughter of Somebeachsomewhere-Cheyenne Sabrina for Harmony Oaks Racing Stable, VIP Internet Stable, Tangie Massey and Bill Boyce. Hammered down to 1-9, Lucy’s Pearl quarter-poled to the lead and jogged home in 1:55 for Dave Palone and trainer Run Gurfein, who owns the daughter of Well Said-Remember When with Elizabeth Novak. Rados Girl was second, 4-1/4 lengths in arrears, while Sunlight Dancer earned show. “I was very happy with her, the way she got home,” Palone said. “I thought she was the best; I just wanted to steer clear of trouble. She likes to do her work, and she can race any way you want her to.” Racing at The Meadows resumes Friday with a trio of Pennsylvania stakes worth approximately $500,000. Since Friday’s card is the final program of the current meeting, the Pick 5, Pick 4 and last superfecta on the card all are “must-pays.” First post is 6:55 PM. Evan Pattak
ELORA, ON — When his three-year-old pacing colts line up behind the starting gate at Grand River Raceway on Friday, Aug. 16 — aiming for their second straight Grassroots victories — owner and regular driver James MacDonald will be 1,700 km away. The Guelph resident is heading back to Charlottetown, PEI for Old Home Week, but on Friday evening he will be looking for a television tuned in to Grand River Raceway hoping to catch the first and second $18,000 Grassroots divisions. Both Sea Harrier and Pointsman were victorious in the Aug. 9 Grassroots event at Mohawk Racetrack and MacDonald would love to see to see them deliver repeat performances at the Elora half-mile. Sea Harrier makes his bid for win number two from Post 8 in Race 3. The Jeremes Jet gelding came up with a personal best 1:52.3 effort at Mohawk to capture his first lifetime win for MacDonald and his partners Floyd Marshall of Jarvis and Peter Porter of Port Dover. The win boosted the gelding into fourth spot in the Grassroots standings with 80 points earned through his Aug. 9 win, a second at Georgian Downs on July 27 and a fifth-place result in the season opener at Mohawk on June 21. Division co-leader Champagne Phil, who is undefeated through the first three legs of the Grassroots regular season, will make his bid for win number four from Post 5 in the third race. Benjamin Paquette trains both Sea Harrier and Pointsman for MacDonald, Marshall and Porter, and the conditioner will send Pointsman after his fourth win from Post 3 in the fifth race. The Royal Mattjesty colt also rang up a personal best in his Aug. 9 Grassroots victory, stopping the Mohawk teletimer at 1:51.2. Pointsman started his sophomore campaign at the Gold Series level and missed the July 27 Grassroots event due to sickness, so his connections would love to see him boost his point total with a strong showing at Grand River. Only the top 10 point earners advance to the post season Grassroots Championship and Pointsman currently sits twelfth. The three-year-old pacing colts will show off their high speed in Races 3, 5, 6, 8, and 10. In between races Grand River Raceway fans will want to enter the Ontario Sires Stakes draw for dinner for four at Mohawk Racetrack on the Sept. 28 Super Final night. The draw will occur following the ninth race. Grand River Raceway’s first race rolls in behind the starting gate at 7:05 pm. For complete entries. For up to date point standings, race replays, and more. Sandra Snyder
The Ontario Racing Commission announced that there have been five confirmed reports of the neurotrophic form of EHV-1 in Thoroughbreds residing in Barn 1 at Woodbine Racetrack.
What has been described in some quarters as the biggest doping scandal in racing history occurred in England last month. The magnitude of the incident aside, there is a lesson to be learned from this notorious event that has little to do with doping. The message developed is this: Advocate for others only that which you truly practice yourself.
Recently, local harness racing trainer Pat Bissett of Goderich suffered a severe heart attack. Pat is now recovering at home, and raffle tickets to help support him during his recovery are available from local merchants and OHHA Members.
The Ontario Racing Commission (ORC) has been made aware of an outbreak of the neurological form of Equine Herpes Virus 1 at a non harness racing venue. Hawthorne Race Course, a thoroughbred racetrack in Illinois will continue racing as scheduled at the track, Hawthorne has put a quarantine in place.
Everyone in harness racing was saddened to hear of the passing of popular owner Henno Illistom this week following a lengthy battle with cancer.
Longtime Pennsylvania Fair Horseman Winston Lineweaver, who suffered a heart attack during the harness racing card at Wattsburg (Erie County PA Fair) on Sunday (June 17) remains hospitalized in Erie.
Im Themightyquinn overcome the flu to win this year's (March 2) Inter Dominion grand final, and a stable virus put him out of last year's New Zealand Cup. Now the 7-year-old champion has copped more bad luck that could have seen him run his last race.
Older harness racing pacer Rockincam, who did not finish in the Bettor's Delight at Tioga Downs last Sunday, was a victim of atrial fibrillation but appears to have recovered well, owner Steve Farrell said.