The High Deserts Social Network Blog…

Calaba Homestead Snowfall

On the afternoon of Sat. 2/26/11, blissful snow fell on the Lovejoy Buttes and beyond, coating everything and making a beautiful area just a wondrous scene. Standing on our front porch, this scene unfolds. I love how just the right amount of snow gives everything a clean, freshened look. Interestingly enough, the nearby Saddleback Butte had absolutely no snow on it’s peaks. It is fascinating to me how the weather here in the Antelope Valley can be so different just a few miles apart!



March 8, 2011 Posted by | Calaba front porch view, Calaba home, Lake L.A. snowfall, Lovejoy Buttes | , , , | Leave a comment

Small Business Expenses 101

For small business owners, tax breaks often come in the form of tax deductions – which can offer a nice little instant cash savings – if you know how to navigate tax law and claim the deductions you deserve (not what you believe you are entitled to).

Large tax deductions are a notorious red flag for the IRS, with home-based businesses, in particular, facing an increase in tax audits due to suspicious deduction activity on income tax returns.

To help you navigate the complex world of business tax deductions, here is some foundational guidance that will help you take the deductions that you deserve.

Recordkeeping – Whatever the deductible expense may be, it is essential to maintain adequate records. There are many bookkeeping and accounting computer software programs available that will provide the basics for tracking expenses. But it is also important to keep receipts, invoices, etc., to back up the numbers. Some types of expenses require additional documentation, such as a log book or diary for business use of your personal vehicle or notations as to the business purpose of the expense (see Entertainment Expenses below). Keeping these records up-to-date will be a time-saver in the long run, especially if the IRS selects your return for audit.

Business Expenses vs. Capital Expenses – One of the first concepts a small business owner needs to understand is the difference between what can be expensed and what must be capitalized.

  • Business expenses are expenses that can be deducted in the current year, such as: business travel, rents, utilities, supplies, insurance, wages, customer entertainment and tangible items with a useful life of no more than one year or cost less than $100. If you are a for-profit, these expenses are usually tax-deductible.

  • Capital expenses are those associated with purchasing fixed business assets, such as property and equipment that has a useful life of more than one year, and must be capitalized and depreciated over a period of years rather than be deducted as current year expenses.  The number of depreciable years depends on the type of property.   Here are some examples: office furnishings – 7 years, autos and light trucks – 5 years, computer equipment – 5 years, residential rental – 27.5 years, commercial rental – 39 years.

    Sometimes even capital items can be expensed all in one year by electing to use a special provision of the tax code that allows personal tangible property, such as computers, office equipment, tools and machinery, to be deducted in full in the year the property is placed into service. The list also includes off-the-shelf software for 2011. The maximum amount that can be expensed for 2011 is $500,000 subject to certain limitations.

    A special provision for 2011 permits certain real property, such as qualified leasehold improvements, restaurant property and retail improvements, to be expensed, although no more than $250,000 of the $500,000 expense limit can be applied to these real property assets.

    For 2011, Congress has reinstated the bonus depreciation and increased it from 50% to 100% of the cost of most personal tangible property, qualified leasehold improvement property and certain computer software with a depreciable useful life of 20 years or less. For qualifying assets placed in service in 2012, the bonus rate drops back to 50%.

    Although repairs are generally considered to be currently deductible expenses, there are occasions when that may not be true.  If a repair or replacement increases the value of the property, makes it more useful, or lengthens its life, then it must depreciated.  If not, it can be deducted like any other business expense.

Common Business Expenses – Below are some typical types of business expenses that qualify for deductions and special rules associated with them. 

  • Car Expenses – To take the business deduction for the use of your car, you must determine what percentage of the vehicle was used for business.  Deductible costs can include the cost of traveling from one workplace to another, making business trips to visit customers or to attend meetings, or traveling to temporary workplaces.  Be sure to maintain complete mileage records.  However, commuting to and from your regular place of business is not a business expense.  When it comes to claiming car expenses, there are two methods:

    a)  Actual Expenses – Add your annual car operating expenses (including gas, oil, tires, repairs, license fees, lease payments, interest on vehicle loans, registration fees, insurance and depreciation).  Multiply the car operating expenses by the percentage of business usage to get your deductible expense.  Business-related parking and road/bridge tolls are fully deductible and don’t have to be reduced by the percentage of business use.  Note: the interest paid on vehicle loans is not deductible by employees who use their personal vehicles on the job.

    b)  Standard Mileage Rate – The standard rate changes each year.  For 2011, it is 51 cents per mile for each business mile driven.  Business-related parking costs, road/bridge tolls, and the business-use portion of interest paid on vehicle loans (for other than employees) are also deductible when the standard mileage rate method is used.

  • Business Use of Your Home – If you use part of your home for your business, you may be able to deduct expenses for items such as mortgage interest, insurance, utilities, repairs, and depreciation. To qualify, you must meet the following criteria:

    a) The business part of your home must be used exclusively and regularly for your trade or business.  However, there are exceptions for daycare facilities or storage of inventory/product samples.

    b) The business part of your home must be:

    – The principal place of business, or

    – A place where you meet or deal with patients, clients, or customers in the normal course of your business, or

    – A separate structure (not attached to your home) used in connection with your business.

  • Entertainment Expenses – This includes any activity considered to provide entertainment, amusement or recreation.  To be deductible, you must generally show that entertainment expenses (including meals) are directly related to, or associated with, the conduct of your business.  Recordkeeping is essential – you will need to keep a history of the business purpose, the amount of each expense, the date and place of the entertainment, and the business relationship of the persons entertained.  Entertainment expenses are usually subject to a 50 percent limit.

  • Travel Expenses – These are “ordinary” and “necessary” expenses while away from home when the primary purpose is conducting business. Your home is generally considered to be the entire city or general area where your principal place of business or employment is located.  Out-of-town expenses include transportation, meals, lodging, tips, and miscellaneous items like laundry, valet, etc.

    Document away-from-home expenses by noting the date, destination and business purpose of your trip.  Record the business miles if you drove to the out-of-town location.  In addition, keep a detailed record of your expenses – lodging, public transportation, meals, etc.  Always list meals and lodging separately in your records.  Receipts must be retained for each lodging expense (proves you were out-of-town).  However, if any other business expense is less than $75, a receipt is not necessary if you record all the information in a timely diary.  You must keep track of the full amount of meal expenses, even though only 50% of the amount will be deductible.

  • Conventions – It is not coincidental that most conventions are held in resort areas during the spring through early fall months.  Convention planners know quite well that convention timing and location is the key to its success.  If planned properly, attendees can deduct a portion of the expenses for establishing business relationships and gaining business knowledge while enjoying a mini-vacation.  Even without a convention, business travel can be married with some personal relaxation while still providing a partial or complete deduction.  It is important to be aware of when the deductions are legitimate as well as when they are not.

    Where a companion, such as a spouse, accompanies the taxpayer, the companion’s meals and travel expenses are generally not deductible.  In addition, deductible-lodging expense is based upon the single occupancy rate.

    There are special rules related to the deductibility of cruise ship conventions, and the meeting must be directly related to the active conduct of the taxpayer’s trade or business.  The cruise ship must be a vessel registered in the United States.  All ports of call must be located in the U.S. or any of its possessions.

    Note that a higher standard is applied to foreign conventions than to conventions and seminars held within the North American area.  Various factors are considered to determine the reasonableness of the location and convention, including, but not limited to, the meeting’s purpose, the sponsor’s purpose and activities, the residence of the organization’s members, the locations of past and future seminars.

  • Marketing and Advertising Expenses – Although marketing and advertising is generally thought of in terms of print ads, flyers and radio and television advertising, they also can include marketing that is intended to portray a business positively.  Such marketing creates a long-term potential for business and falls within the ordinary and normal requirements of the tax code.

    Examples of such marketing include sponsoring local youth sports teams, distributing samples of your business product, and costs associated with prizes offered by your business in a contest.  As long as your marketing expenses can be reasonably related to the promotion of your business, they can be deducted.

The foregoing is a brief overview of some of the many deductions available to the small business owner.  However, every business is different and has its own unique expenses.  If you have questions related to deductible expenses for your business, please give this office a call.



March 8, 2011 Posted by | av best bookkeeping, lancaster business tax | Leave a comment

Grand opening/ribbon cutting ceremony for Superior Grocers in Palmdale.


WHAT:   Grand opening/ribbon cutting ceremony for Superior Grocers in Palmdale.

WHEN:   TOMORROW – Wednesday, March 9, 2011, 9 am

WHERE:          38360 20th Street E, Palmdale, CA  (Corner of Palmdale Blvd. and 20th St. East.)

WHO:            Superior Grocers staff and representatives; Palmdale Mayor Jim Ledford; members of the City Council; City of Palmdale staff; Palmdale High School Marching Band; Fr. Vaughn of St. Mary’s Catholic Church; representatives from Cactus Intermediate School.

WHY:            To celebrate the grand opening of Palmdale’s newest supermarket, and the first Superior Grocers to open in the Antelope Valley.

BACKGROUND:     At Superior Grocers, their mission has always been to provide the freshest and highest quality products to consumers at a “low price on what they buy everyday.”  This new Superior Grocers location will provide a great opportunity for local consumers, loyal or new, to come in and experience the Superior way. Superior Grocers includes a full-service bakery, fresh meat and seafood counter and a large produce section.”

            • While staying true to their philosophy of offering the highest quality products at the lowest prices with exceptional customer services, they will also enrich the community by providing jobs that include many benefits and getting involved with local youth programs, schools, and church organizations.

              Superior Grocers values the importance of the community’s vitality and educational programs, and is therefore committed to becoming an active partner in the communities they serve. As part of its commitment to the community, Superior will award a $25,000 donation to Cactus Intermediate School at the ceremony.

    INFORMATION:    Emily Kaye
    Superior Grocers – 562/345.9000 <>



    Communications Department · 38300 Sierra Highway · Palmdale, CA  93550 <>


    March 8, 2011 Posted by | east palmdale, jim ledford east palmdale, new business palmdale, Palmdale superior groceries | , , , , | 1 Comment

    March MADNESS!!! Coaches bar and grill


    NCAA Division I Games
    2:00 PM Rutgers vs. Seton Hall*



    NCAA Division I Games
    12:30 PM Oklahoma State vs. Nebraska* Tickets
    1:00 PM UCF vs. East Carolina* Tickets
    1:00 PM Texas-San Antonio vs. Northwestern State* Tickets
    1:30 PM Prairie View A&M vs. Jackson State* Tickets
    3:00 PM Iowa State vs. Colorado* Tickets
    3:00 PM San Jose State vs. Hawaii* Tickets
    3:00 PM Howard vs. Norfolk State* Tickets
    3:30 PM Stephen F. Austin vs. Sam Houston State* Tickets
    3:30 PM Tulane vs. Southern Miss* Tickets
    5:00 PM TCU vs. Wyoming* Tickets
    5:30 PM Fresno State vs. Nevada* Tickets
    7:00 PM Oklahoma vs. Baylor* Tickets
    7:00 PM Robert Morris at Long Island
    7:00 PM Nicholls State vs. McNeese State* Tickets
    7:30 PM Houston vs. Marshall* Tickets
    9:00 PM Oregon State vs. Stanford* Tickets
    9:00 PM Arkansas-Pine Bluff vs. Texas Southern* Tickets
    9:30 PM Texas Tech vs. Missouri* Tickets
    9:30 PM Southeastern Louisiana vs. Texas State* Tickets
    10:00 PM Rice vs. Southern Methodist* Tickets
    11:30 PM Arizona State vs. Oregon*  


    March 8, 2011 Posted by | AV Best Sport Lounge, av best sports bar, Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment



    Our agency financial services are offered by Bob Finberg. Bob has more than thirty years experience as a licensed insurance agent.

    Our concept for financial planning is based on “your values.”

    Bob Finberg of Lancaster Insurance has a team of experts in life insurance, pensions and savings plans.

    Our pledge is to work with you developing a “financial independence plan” and our commitment is to share your vision for protection, security and independence.

    What makes us different from other advisors is our promise of service to you based on a relationship, our focus on your needs rather than financial products and being guided by your long term goals rather than current events.

    Insuring your Homes, Cars, Trucks, your Businesses and your lives. We have selected the best and most competitive insurance companies offered by any independent agency. We represent “you”, not just a single insurance company. One size does NOT fit all, one insurance company does NOT fit all.


    Lancaster Insurance Services, Inc.
    42220 10th Street West, Suite 107
    Lancaster, CA 93534
    Phone: 661-726-1337
    Fax: 661-726-5846

    Bob Finberg – Agent/Owner
    Mercedes Colvin – Agent, Account Manager
    Edgar Ortiz – Insurance Professional
    Monika Pieters – Insurance Specialist
    Elaine Tucker – Customer Service Rep.

    March 8, 2011 Posted by | lancaster commercial insurance, lancaster insurance, lancaster life insurance, lancaster personal insurance | , , , | Leave a comment

    Quartz Hill Veterinary Clinic

  Welcome to Quartz Hill & Southern Kern Veterinary Clinics. At Quartz Hill and Southern Kern Veterinary Clinics we’re dedicated to providing quality service for the Antelope Valley, Southern Kern and surrounding areas. We provide in-house surgeries, a full range of diagnostic laboratory services, and a complete pet pharmacy. Quartz Hill and Southern Kern Veterinary Clinics are comprised of a modern hospital, surgical unit, radiology department and on-site laboratory. We emphasize preventive care whenever possible to ensure a happy, healthy and long life for your pet.


    March 8, 2011 Posted by | AV Best Veterinary, Lancaster Veterinary, Palmdale Veterinary, Quartz Hill Veterinary, Rosamond Veterinary | , , , , | Leave a comment