Online Advisor
Timothy W. Tuttle & Associates

Volume 16 Edition 12          Please email comments                  Dec 2019

Major Events This Month:

For December 2019      

This month:

December 22

- Hanukkah begins

December 25

- Christmas Day

December 26

- Kwanzaa begins

January 15

- 4th Quarter Estimated Payments Due

Take final year-end actions

- Deductible gifts

- Capital gains/losses

- Charitable giving

- Dividend income


It's almost New Year! Have you done your yearly credit report checkup yet? While you're at it, protect yourself from charity scams this season by reviewing some big red flags, and learn how to prioritize cash flow in your business. 

Call if you would like to discuss how this information relates to you. If you know someone who can benefit from this newsletter, feel free to send it to them.

Time for a Yearly Credit Report

One way to head off fraud during tax season is to get your free annual credit report now. Credit reports often have errors in them; this quick checkup can be the first indication that some form of identity theft has taken place on your account.

The good news is that each of the major consumer credit reporting agencies is required by law to provide you with a free report once a year. Here's contact information to help you get your free credit report:

Annual Credit
Telephone: 1-877-322-8228
Via mail: (fill out the online form and mail it to the following address)
Annual Credit Report Request Service
P.O. Box 105281
Atlanta, GA 30348-5281

Listed here are the three major credit agencies and how to contact them directly.

Telephone: 833-395-6938
Web site:
Via mail: 2 Baldwin Place
P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA 19022

Telephone: 1-800-685-1111
Web site:
Via mail: Equifax Credit Information Service
P.O. Box 740241
Atlanta, GA 30374-0241

Telephone: 1.888.EXPERIAN (397-3742)
Web site:
Via mail: P.O. Box 9701
Allen, TX 75013

Reminder: Each agency may try to upsell you into additional paid services. If you find problems on your credit report, work through the credit bureau's process to correct the error. Also place fraud alerts on your credit agency account if you experience any kind of identity fraud.

3 Major Charity Scam Red Flags

Youíve probably already received several letters and phone calls from charities asking for donations. Most requests are from legitimate organizations. Some, however, are bogus charities set up by con artists who use the holiday spirit to their financial advantage.

Last year, Americans gave nearly $428 billion to charities, according to Giving USA 2019: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2018. That's a huge incentive for fraud.

If you're planning to donate, take some time to learn how to spot a charity scam. Here are a few big red flags:

Many charitable organizations are seeking your aid to address genuine hardships. Avoid the schemes of unethical scammers, and your donations will provide help where it's needed most.

If you think youíve been contacted by a bogus charity, let the Federal Trade Commission know by filing a complaint.

Cash Flow: A Central Part of Your Business Plan

When tracking and planning your business objections, itís easy to focus your analysis on two reports ó the income statement and balance sheet. But one of the primary keys to your businessís success relies more on how you handle the money flowing in and out of the business. The appearance of a solid profit can hide a lurking cash flow problem.

Here are practices to help you give your cash flow the attention it deserves:

When businesses fail, itís usually because they run out of money. By making cash flow a central part of your business plan, you greatly reduce this risk.

Winter Wonderland Trivia

Whether or not you hear sleigh bells ringing, winter wonderland is here! Hereís a quiz to test your wintertime wisdom and offer you fun facts to impress your family and friends.

What is the largest 24-hour snowfall ever measured in the U.S.?

a. 4 feet
b. 6 feet
c. 10 feet
d. 13 feet

b. 6 feet. Itís 6.3 feet to be exact. This amount fell in a 24-hour period in Silver Lake, Colorado on April 14-15, 1921, according to The Weather Channel. It probably had something to do with its 10,220-foot elevation in the Colorado Rockies!

Krampus, the horned half-goat, half-demon creature from Central European folklore, is known for what during the holiday season?

a. Bringing fruitcake to families
b. Singing Good King Wenceslaus while caroling
c. Seeking out children who have misbehaved
d. Stealing wooden shoes

c. Seeking out children who have misbehaved. This made-up figure seems to be pretty mischievous himself! During an Austrian Krampuslauf (Krampus Run), herds of Krampuses ó people dressed in masks and costumes ó stomp down streets and play tricks on parade goers.

Which sport was incorporated into the Winter Olympics?

a. Snow tubing
b. Speed skiing
c. Bandy
d. Ski ballet

d. Ski ballet. Called figure skating on snow with skis, this sport was a demonstration event in the 1988 Calgary games and the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville, France.

Which animal hibernates the longest?

a. Bumblebee
b. Alpine marmot
c. Bear
d. Wood frog

d. Wood frog. This bug-eyed amphibian can survive up to seven months in a ďdeep-freezeĒ period! They can live while being completely frozen by protecting their cells using glucose, according to a study published in the Journal of Experimental Biology.

How many people were part of the largest gathering of holiday sweater-wearers?

a. 3,473
b. 1,201
c. 6,552
d. 992

a. 3,473. Thatís a lot of ugly sweaters! According to Guinness Book of World Records, this goal was achieved by Kansas Athletics at a Kansas University menís basketball game against Montana in December 2015.

As you enjoy the season, spread some of these fun wintertime facts with your loved ones.

Save More This Shopping Season

This winter, the NPD Groupís 2019 Holiday Purchase Intentions Survey is reporting that Americans plan to spend an average of $740 on holiday shopping ó a 7% increase since last year. The survey also found that more people started their shopping earlier than last year (even before Black Friday!).

So are you like your fellow Americans? What can you do to ensure your spending does not spiral out of control? Here are some ideas:



Avoid Misclassification: Understand Independent Contractors

The best way to avoid misclassifying workers is to understand the defining characteristics of independent contractors ó and then treat them as such. Use this infographic to help you identify independent contractors and understand how they are different than employees. 

Independent contractor checklist  

Use this list to help determine if you or the person who does work for your business should be considered an independent contractor. An independent contractor:  

Defining an independent contractor  

The IRS says an individual is an independent contractor if the payer (employer) has the right to control or direct only the result of the work, not what will be done and how it will be done. 

Unlike independent contractors, employees are protected by various employment laws, including:   

130+ million U.S. workers are protected by the FLSA.  

57.3 million people freelanced in 2017.  

1 in 5 jobs is a contracting job in the U.S. 

As always, should you have any questions or concerns regarding your tax situation please feel free to call.

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The information contained in this newsletter is of a general nature and should not be acted upon in your specific situation without further details and/or professional assistance. For more information on anything in ONLINE ADVISOR, or for assistance with any of your tax, business, or financial strategy concerns, contact our office.

Timothy W. Tuttle & Associates