Ask TaxMama Issue 516 – How Sewing Machines Changed the World

Happy Season Anniversary of the Sewing Machine
Dear Family,

I want to thank the National Association of Enrolled Agents for honoring TaxMama® (or Eva Rosenberg) their 2009 Excellence in Public Awareness Award – for letter the world know about Enrolled Agents and what we do. Let’s face it, EAs are the best friend of the average taxpayer – especially the small businessowner. Most of us are small businessowners, entrepreneurs and/or home-based businesses. We understand your issues. In fact, we live them.

I guess entrepreneurism has always run in my family. After all, it’s not easy for immigrants to get jobs. Naturally, one of the first jobs (or businesses) female immigrants in the middle of the last century vied for was sewing – either in the factory, or from home, paid for piecework. That probably hasn’t changed that much today. In fact, the Internal Revenue Code has a special worker classification called “Statutory Employees” that includes pieceworkers.

One of my earliest memories after immigrating to Canada, was the glowing, black, cast-iron Singer sewing machine in her bedroom. It looked a bit like the picture on this page, only it was a treasured work of art, maintained with love and care. I remember running my hands over the smooth, shiny latticework of the treadle, the sides, and the SINGER logo, when I was barely tall enough to reach the logo.
Wikipedia entry on the Singer Company

It seems that all the women in my family had learned to sew. Apparently, I’ve been told, my mother was a seamstress. I don’t know. She died when I was very young. But my step-mother and her sister had ample skills. In fact, her sister managed to snag a contract producing upholstery for airplanes – for the original version of the Wikipedia entry on the Air Canada fleet. You must realize just how new commercial flying was back in the 1950’s.

For some immigrant woman to land a contract like that – to make all the seat covers and curtains and…whatever, from her basement, for such a progressive company was beyond amazing. Naturally, the fleet wasn’t nearly as large it is now. Air travel back then was quite an elegant, event – not quite like the cattle-car situation it is now. This business gave my aunt a foothold in America, and helped establish her two sons’ impressive educations. Today, they have nothing to do with the kind of manual work that formed the foundation of their lives. However, they are each educators and innovators, and authors highly regarded in their respective fields – and giving back to their communities.

It never hurts to remember how it all started.

And my Mom? She brought her Singer Sewing Machine to California. Frankly, although she didn’t really realize it while it was happening. the steady income she generated doing alterations and making new clothing was what really supported us. My father’s wildly fluctuating income as a carpenter, then as a general contractor, provided us with luxuries. But he really wasn’t good at estimating the true costs of a building project; or at managing the money he received to cover the whole project. So, by then end of the project, he was always out money. With him, it was feast or famine. Of course, it was always great fun! Only after he died, and my Mom had to support herself, did she realize just how much money she had been bringing to the household all those years. Funny, how many women I have known who were suddenly much better off financially as widows. Have you looked at the management of your own finances? If you’re on a financial roller coaster, you might find that it’s time to change control of the money.

In fact, I recently heard from a woman, presently separated from her husband due to a combination of alcoholism and the related financial nightmares addiction brings. Pointing her to Doug Thorburn’s website .
dealing with understanding alcholism, she was surprised to find that not only her husband, but her bosses exhibit many of the signs of alcoholic behavior. Try the test yourself.

In IRS News this week we learn about the really interesting ways you can use the current version of the Net Operating Loss carryback, under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). Of course, this is only for businesses with a substantial net loss. Those of you who managed to keep your head above water in today’s economy, well, you don’t need any special tax break, right? Also, a reminder that the IRS is seeking new issues for the Industry Issue Resolution Program. You have until Aug. 31, 2009 to change the tax world.

In today’s Money Funny – we learn about that What Is Embarrasing To You Isn’t Even Remembered By Others.

TaxQuips this week we learn that not filing a tax return when you know you don’t owe any money – well, it can be frightfully expensive; we learn when and if you can claim your parents as dependents and be entitled to use the head of household filing status; is there danger lurking in the innocent act of adding yourself to your parents’ bank accounts, just to be safe? Is there any tax relief when you’ve suffered a theft loss not covered by insurance?

As always, we love your feedback, opinions and ideas.
You are what makes all this fun – and interesting!

Please use the Comments link online.

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Hugs from your favorite TaxNerd,

Eva Rosenberg, EA

Your TaxMama is watching…out for you.


08.17.2009 Employers Make monthly Payroll tax deposit

09.15.2009 Employers Make monthly Payroll tax deposit

09.15.2009 Corporate & Partnership Returns Due- FINAL DEADLINE

09.15.2009 3rd 2009 Estimated Payment – all entities Due


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