Archive for 2010

the truth is beautiful

Trash He'Art' 0179

Title: Untitled
Size: ACEO/ATC, 3-1/2" x 2-1/2"

Notes: Made with found paper (NCR), rusty paperclip, postmarked envelope, used postage stamp

To see hearts from around the world, visit "Random Hearts", and share YOUR He'Art' on Guest Heart Thursday!

Graffiti He'Art' 0672

Title: Full Moon Kitty
Size: ACEO/ATC, 3-1/2" x 2-1/2"

Notes: Made with REAL graffiti (see sidebar)

Christmas Eve ...

Title: Tree on Christmas Eve ...
Size: ACEO/ATC, 2-1/2" x 3-1/2"

Notes: Made with scrap paper (found at Goodwill), plastic snowflake, gold foil product wrapper, Sharpie

GUEST in Arad

Arad, originally uploaded by ~GUEST~.

On the Twelfth Day of Christmas ...

Title: Twelve Drummers Drumming
Size: ACEO/ATC, 2-1/2" x 3-1/2"

Notes: Sketched in Pencil
More Notes: It is supposed to be a mallet, NOT an axe! :=}

To see hearts from around the world, visit Random Hearts - and share YOUR heart on Guest Heart Thursday!

On the Eleventh Day of Christmas ...

Title: Eleven Pipers Piping
Size: 2-1/2" x 3-1/2"

Notes: Made with watercolors ... and a potato stamp

2011 Payroll Tax Withholding Tables

As you've probably heard by now the Bush era tax cuts and unemployment benefits have been extended and then some.  As part of the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act, the 2011 payroll tax withholding tables reflect not only the continuation of the lower tax rates enacted back in 2001 but also a lower Social Security tax rate for employees (4.2%). 

In view of these changes employers will need to make sure that their first payrolls in 2011 have the correct
 tax tables and reflect the lower Social Security tax rate.  The new tables are now available from the IRS so the updates from your payroll software providers will soon be available.  You'll want to get the updates as soon as possible to avoid having to make adjustments later.  For companies that use a payroll service presumable these updates will be implemented by the first 2011 payroll.  If you do your payroll in-house the tax tables software updates are usually available shortly after year end.  The Social Security tax rate update is probably the most important update to make because this will be the hardest thing to correct if you over withhold ie use 6.2% vs. the new 4.2% rate.  This change, depending on the payroll software, can be made manually if you do not have the software updates in time.

The making work pay credit expires at the end of 2010 so even though the Bush era tax rates were extended the tax table will change because this credit expired.  The option of receiving advance earned income credit payments also expires at the end of 2010.

Contact me should you need assistance getting your payroll system ready for the new year.

Andrew J. Jordan, CPA

On the Tenth Day of Christmas ...

Title: Ten Lords A-Leaping
Size: ACEO/ATC, 2-1/2" x 3-1/2"

Notes: Ink over pencil

On the Ninth Day of Christmas ...

Title: Nine Ladies Dancing
Size: ACEO/ATC, 2-1/2" x 3-1/2"

Notes: Clip-art for ballerina, all other scribbles are mine


On the Eighth Day of Christmas ...

Title: Eight Maids A-Milking
Size: ACEO/ATC, 2-1/2" x 3-1/2"

Notes: Made with store advertisements, clip art (hands), ink (cow and bucket)

On the Seventh Day of Christmas ...

Title: Seven Swans A-Swimming
Size: ACEO/ATC - 2-1/2" x 3-1/2"

Notes: Made with real graffiti (see sidebar)

Artist Notes: You will have to use your imagination a little on this one - my scanner doesn't pick up certain colors, and what appears dark blue at the top of this ACEO is actually a dark sunset orange with a little blue behind. Sigh, Technology is wonderful, but sometimes it's very frustrating!

On the Sixth Day of Christmas ...

Title: Six Geese A-Laying
Size: ACEO/ATC, 2-1/2" x 3-1/2"

Notes: Made with magazine page (nest), recycled paper (heart eggs), Ink (geese)

On the Fifth Day of Christmas ...

Title: Five Golden Rings
Size: ACEO/ATC, 2-1/2" x 3-1/2"

Notes: Made with "5" gum package, product packaging foil, Sharpie

To see hearts from around the world, visit Random Hearts and share YOUR heart on Guest Heart Thursday!

On the Fourth Day of Christmas ...

Title: Four "Calling" Birds
Size: ACEO/ATC - 2-1/2" x 3-1/2"

Notes: Made from found paper (NCR), newspaper advertisements, Sharpie, acrylic paint on handmade stencil

Lucca Di Maggio - "Canvas? Maybe one day…"

Studio Homebrand is proud to host:
Tel Aviv Street Art / Graffiti
Lucca Di Maggio - "Canvas? Maybe one day…"
Tel Aviv Street Art / Graffiti
The usage of the street as his work space grants Di Maggio access to a ongoing dialogue with the many passers-by in the streets of New York, Tel-Aviv and Milan. Di Maggio has been "painting in the streets" and meddling with public spaces way before street art (Graffiti) became a legitimate form of expression and dialogue.

The overwhelming of urban spaces by massive billboard plastered with large varieties of ever changing commercial media has brought Di Maggio to the process of "selective curatorship" which takes place outside the conventional galleries and enables him to use massive billboards as his own personal canvases. The Artist was the first to use this technique despite the big downside of using billboards with a high turnover of advertisements and so a painting he worked on for six days maybe taken down after just a couple of days.

On his arrival to Tel-Aviv as a guest of "Inspirational Art Festival" Di
Maggio abandon the massive billboards, turned to the walls of the streets and used them as canvases for his strong figurative and timeless art. The current exhibition is the highlight of the city's inspirations.
Tel Aviv Street Art / Graffiti
Lucca Di Maggio was born in Milan, Italy, 1977. He graduated law school (University of Milan) and graphic design from the "European Institute of Design" also in Milan. Di Maggio held shows in New York, Milan and Vienna among them in Castiel Gallery for Friends of TA Art Museum (TA, 2010) "The Underbelly project" (NY 2010) and the Tel Aviv Biennale (2010).

The exhibition will take place in December 18th, 18:00, 13 Hamehoga st, in Florentine, near Comfort 13 in S. Tel Aviv.
Tel Aviv Street Art / Graffiti
For further information please contact Gil Sagiv- 0544-6639004

On The Third Day of Christmas ...

Title: Three French Hens
Size: ACEO/ATC - 2-1/2" x 3-1/2"

Notes: Made with real graffiti (see sidebar), plastic snowflake

On The Second Day of Christmas ...

Title: Two Turtle Doves
Size: ACEO/ATC, 2-1/2" x 3-1/2"

Notes: Made with product packaging foil, and an old shirt I got at the Goodwill already decorated with lace and ribbon

{Originally uploaded (boy did I goof up!) on Random Nature. Oh well, I'm putting it up here as well!!!}

Year End Tax Planning Update

Tax planning is squeezed as Washington nears a deal
A tax compromise worked out between the White House and Republicans could turn a lot of year-end tax planning on its head, according to a Reuters blog post. With taxes lower than expected, an advantage from deferring deductions and accelerating income would disappear.
There would no longer be any incentive to sell investments in 2010 in order to lock in a lower capital-gains tax rate because the rate would not change Jan. 1. Reuters/Deep Pocket blog (12/6) , Forbes/Estate of Confusion blog (12/6).

The above is the latest information from the AICPA news service regarding the state of year end tax planning. Click on the title to read the full article.  As you've probably heard on the news it looks like the Bush tax cuts will be extended for all taxpayers.  If capital gains rates do not increase as was expected, then there is no tax incentive to sell appreciated investments in 2010 to take advantage of a lower tax rate as mentioned in my previous blog.  

Tax planning has been more difficult than ever this year.  It's not certain how the whole tax debate will shake-out.  I imagine there will be a lot of people waiting until the last minute this year before they make any major year end tax planning moves.  If you need assistance deciding on how you should arrange your financial affairs in ways that postpone or avoid taxes please contact me.  I will be watching the tax debate closely so you can also contact me for further updates between now and the end of the year. 

Andrew Jordan, CPA

On The First Day of Christmas ...

Title: A Partridge in a Pear Tree
Size: ACEO/ATC, 2-1/2" x 3-1/2"

Notes: Made with used Christmas card, watercolors, gum wrapper, acrylic paint

Nature He'Art' 0007

Title: Autumn Blueberries
Size: ACEO/ATC 2-1/2" x 3-1/2"

Note: Made with acrylic paint, graffiti, pressed Autumn blueberry leaves

Puzzle He'Art' 0001 - Guest Heart Thursday

Title: Bee on Honey Jar
Size: ACEO/ATC - 2-1/2" x 3-1/2"

Notes: Made with crushed paper bag, puzzle pieces, permanent marker

To see hearts from around the world, visit Random Hearts - and share YOUR heart on Guest Heart Thursday!


REUSE PROJECT 4: REUSE & RESIST! Open Call For Art until Feb. 1st!

What is the ReUse Project? Every year, for the past 4 years, INSPIRE Collective has made a call for art, taken a centralized public building, and installed as much artwork inside & outside as possible, then we open the doors to the public!
Want to get involved this time around? Just keep reading…

There is a better way, no matter what they say! Present-day cities, the world over, have massive percentages of un-used & generally neglected public space. By itself, this fact quickly becomes its own negative social issue & it isn’t a phenomenon, it’s a disgusting norm of all industrialized cities at this point. WE MUST REUSE AND RESIST!!
But how?! Many social issues could be already solved by ReUsing & re-thinking public space. This year, let’s stop talking about it and started getting things done!

INSPIRE Collective would like to extend this call for art around the world, so if you know folks who would like to get involved…We extend the invitation to all creators to participate in ReUse Project 4: REUSE AND RESIST!

If you’re a conscious artist living on this planet and you can creatively relate to the ideas of ReThinking and ReUsing, then this exhibition is for you! Help us to make a positive social statement here in the Middle East & sustainable, independent artists will help to make this necessary statement world-wide. Open call for art ends February 1st.
For participation inquiries, entry submissions, call for art info, etc., please visit:
Also, for INSPIRE Collective past events and more:

Remember, the open call for art ends February 1st.

Mail to:

P.O. Box 4917
Tel Aviv, Israel

Gandhi Portrait- Cabbagetown ATL

Graffiti He'Art' 0641 - Orange Sherbert

Title: Orange Sherbert
Size: ACEO/ATC - 2-1/2" x 3-1/2"

Made with real graffiti (see sidebar)

To see hearts from around the world, visit Random Hearts - and share YOUR heart on Guest Heart Thursday!

Cabbagetown ATL- Tags Set 02

Year-End Tax Planning

Tax planning is the art of arranging one's financial affairs in ways that postpone or avoid taxes.  Deferring and avoiding income taxes by taking advantage of beneficial tax law provisions, increasing and accelerating deductions and credits, and generally making maximum use of all relevant breaks and favorable exceptions available under the Internal Revenue Code.  The following is a summary of a few tax provisions to consider for business and individual year-end tax planning.

Consider taking some capital gains in 2010.  The stock market has had a pretty good run-up recently.  Now may be a good time to take some gains by selling appreciated stocks and other taxable investments owned generally longer than a year.  The current long term capital gain tax rate is 15% and it is expected to go up to 20% or more in 2011.

If you have money left in your employer-sponsored FSA or your own HSA and use it for tax-free withdrawals for non-prescription drugs like pain and allergy medications consider stocking up on these medications before year end.  Starting next year, this tax-favored treatment will only be available for prescription drugs, insulin and doctor-prescribed over-the -counter medications.  It's always a good idea to review your FSA balance before year end and try to utilize an existing balance because whatever amount one doesn't use you lose.

After 2010 the 30% tax credit (Max $1,500 overall for 2009 and 2010) for common energy-saving home improvements and equipment expires.  If you're planning on purchasing new windows or exterior doors, insulation or various more common high efficiency heating and cooling equipment do it in 2010 to qualify for the credit.  It's important to note that the improvements must be installed in 2010 and one must obtain an manufacturer's certificate that the product is eligible for the tax break.  It's also important to remember the maximum credit for these common upgrades is $1,500 over the 2 years 2009 and 2010 not $1,500 per year.

C Corporation business owner should consider dividend distributions or a stock redemption in 2010.  Both dividends and long-term capital gains are currently taxed at the same maximum federal rate of only 15%.  Unless Congress takes action to extend the current tax rates, higher tax rates on dividends and long-term gains will kick in for post 2010 years.  2010 may be a good time to distribute extra cash from your C Corp at a low tax cost.  This move can have other side benefits as well.

If one's planning on starting or purchasing a small business there are tax benefits to doing it before 12/31/10.  The Small Business Tax Act increased the exclusion from 50% to 100% of capital gains from the sale of a business started between 9/27/10 and 12/31/10.  The business must be a C Corp and the investment must be for five years or longer.  The exclusion will apply to at least the first $10 million of gain upon the sale if applicable requirements are met.  The C Corp requirement for this exclusion may not be such a bad thing if individual tax rates increase next year.  A maximum post 2010 individual federal income tax rate of 39.6% or higher may favor a C Corp status over S Corp assuming that the current maximum C Corp rate structure will be left in place.  Consider this scenario, buy stock in a small business C Corp by 12/31/10, build the business and in five years sell it at a tax-free gain.  Not a bad retirement plan!  If things don't turn out like you plan and have to bail out at a loss, there also a tax provision that allows one to take an ordinary loss on the sale of qualified small business stock.

There are accelerated tax depreciation write-offs available for purchases of business autos, equipment, etc.  The section 179 expensing  limit is expanded in a way that could benefit more and more larger businesses than before.  The nice part about this deduction is that it can be taken immediately for taxes and deducted over a longer periods for book purposes so not to hurt your balance sheet.  The best of both worlds!

I've covered some complicated subjects that do not apply to everyone or every type of business.  To find out more about these or other tax provisions please contact Andrew Jordan, CPA at 248-514-6213.

C215 Dumpster in Tel Aviv, Israel

See more from Paris stencil artist C215 here:

Fabric He'Art' 0008 - Guest Heart Thursday

Title: Untitled
Size: ATC/ACEO (2-1/2 x 3-1/2")

Notes: Made with magazine page, product packaging, old torn fabric

To see hearts from around the world, visit Random Hearts, and share YOUR heart on Guest Heart Thursday!

ACF #96 - She Dances With Heart

For those of you unfamiliar with ACF - It stands for Art Creations Friday - where each week we are challenged to come up with unique art based on a provided image.

This week's image is a freebie from Jolette and we have permission to use it for ACF this week. Thank you, Jolette!

Title: She Dances With Heart (ACF #96)
Size: 4" x 6"

Notes: Made with art from Art Creations Friday, magazine pages, sequin, lace pieces, tulle, frayed fabric, school report cover pieces

To see the amazing and imaginative results of this challenge, please join us for Art Creations Friday!

Graffiti He'Art' 0592 - Guest Heart Thursday

Title: Shocking Pink
Size: ATC/ACEO (2-1/2 x 3-1/2")

Notes: Made with REAL graffiti (see sidebar)

To see hearts from around the world, visit Random Hearts, and share YOUR heart on Guest Heart Thursday!