Choosing a Tax Preparer without Feeling Taxed

If you need help with your federal tax return you are not alone. Most Americans hire tax specialists to get the job done right. Just ask the right questions

Choosing a Tax Preparer without Feeling Taxed

Tax season is stressful for most Americans, with an array of roller-coaster emotions from excitement to mild concern to downright anxiety. Preparing your own tax return may have been simple before life went fast forward or evolved to where you are now financially. Things change, and you have now decided to turn to someone else to prepare your tax returns. You’ll be in good company; more than 60% of Americans pay someone else to prepare their taxes for them, and for good reason. Just use good sense and follow these smart guidelines.

How to Choose

Choose wisely. Taxpayers (that’s you) are legally responsible for everything on their tax returns, so be sure the tax preparer can do the job. While price alone should not be the deciding factor in hiring a tax preparer, do not go with the cheapest estimate; experience counts in a tax specialist, so be prepared to pay for it. Here are some tips to help you choose:

1. Check Credentials

Check the person’s qualifications before starting. Your preparer should belong to a professional organization offering continuing education classes and a code of ethics that binds its members. Each paid tax preparer must register with the IRS and obtain a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PIN) before preparing federal tax returns in 2011. This includes preparers who already have a PIN. Don’t be timid about asking for references; experienced preparers should have several to share.

2. Buyer Beware

Beware of a preparer who wants to base a percentage of the fee on your tax return. Charging a contingent fee (a percentage of the refund) is not allowed. Discuss fees in advance; an estimate is fine as a preparer may not know the exact fee until he or she sees your return. Steer clear of someone who says he can get you a larger return than another preparer. Check with the Better Business Bureau, the state’s board of accountancy for CPA’s, or the IRS Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) for enrolled agents, to see if the preparer has any questionable history.

3. Bring Receipts

Bring every receipt of every eligible purchase and for every dollar you contributed to charity. Be cautious of a preparer who does not ask good questions. You want someone who knows what the IRS will look for.

4. Use Common Sense

Never sign a blank tax return and never use a pencil. Check to see that your name, address, Social Security Number(s), and any other identifying information are correct. Do not leave any of these spaces blank. Be sure you understand everything the preparer has entered onto your return before you sign it. Don’t forget to get a copy of your return too — the preparer must give you one. Your paid preparer must also sign the return.

5. Stability Counts

Be sure your preparer will be around and accessible after April. If the IRS wants to question your tax information, you will need to get in touch with the preparer for answers.

New Rules for Tax Preparer

Beginning this year every paid tax preparer must apply for a Preparer Tax Identification Number – even if they already have one – before preparing any federal tax returns in 2011.Choosing a Tax Preparer without Feeling Taxed

Next year the Internal Revenue Service will require all tax return preparers to register with the government and take a test to prove their competency for the job. This is an important step; currently only three states – California, Oregon, and Maryland – actually regulate paid tax preparers.

With over 60% of Americans paying someone to do their taxes, and most of the country’s tax preparers not regulated, the consequences of mistakes made can cost the taxpayer more than originally expected.

Sushi: Healthy or Unhealthy?

Sushi was once included in the list of fancy food items and was also limited to particular demographics only. However, it is today considered to be one of the healthiest menus as it contains seafood that is packed with the bulk of protein of high quality.

Be it the local malls or even the five-star restaurants, and sushi is available everywhere. But is it actually a healthy dish to include in your meals? Well, the recipe contains raw fish which is eaten with soya sauce that is high in salt quantity. And the people looking for some healthy bites are sure to keep a watch over both the ingredients. Here’s a post that brings you the insight on how healthy is sushi for your health and how much of it is nothing but the fad.

Roll Wrapped in Seaweed

Sushi is a Japanese dish served in the form of a roll made using seaweed. The roll is further filled with cooked or raw fish, cooked rice, and some vegetables. The dish is widely enjoyed along with wasabi, soy sauce, and ginger pickle.

Everyone loves sushiThe raw fish for making sushi is prepared through a process of fermentation where it is cleaned and kept between the rice and salt for some weeks till it is ready for eating. Later, for reducing the time period of fermentation, vinegar is included in the rice, which further improves the overall taste of the dish.

Nutrients obtained from the ingredients of Sushi

Apart from being rich in proteins, sushi comes with other nutrients too. The ingredients and the nutrients obtained from sushi are:

  • Fish

The prime ingredient of Sushi is fish. Fish is rich in proteins, multiple Vitamins, iodine, and various minerals. Additionally, fish also includes Vitamin D in a natural form. It also includes Omega-3 fats that help in the proper functioning of the body and the brain.

The nutrients obtained from fish are also helpful in fighting against medical issues like stroke and heart issues. Fish is also helpful in reducing the risk of developing some health issues like depression, autoimmune diseases, loss of memory, and loss of vision in the old days.

  • Seaweed

Sushi roll is made out of a seaweed called Nori. Nori is popular for various nutrients like magnesium, calcium, iron, phosphorus, iodine, sodium, Vitamin A, thiamine, Vitamin E and Vitamin C. Again, the seaweed is one of the ingredients in the seafood that contains the highest levels of proteins.

Nori also includes particular compounds that are helpful in fighting against particular inflammation, cancer, and particular viruses. But one serving of sushi contains a very nominal part of the seaweed which limits the required number of nutrients one would require on a daily basis.

  • Wasabi

Wasabi is an ingredient that is served along with Sushi. The ingredient comes with a very strong flavor, and thus, it is often eaten in small bites. Wasabi is made with Eutrema Japonicum stems in grated form. The ingredient belongs to the family of mustard, horseradish, and cabbage.

Hence it is rich in nutrients like glucosinolates, beta carotene, isothiocyanates, etc. The compounds present in Wasabi are filled with properties like anticancer, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial too, hence, making it a healthy treat.

  • Ginger pickle

Also known as Gari, the ginger pickle, which is sweet in taste, is often served with sushi. The pickle is used for cleansing the palate between the various sushi pieces. Ginger is popular for nutrients like manganese, copper, magnesium, and potassium.

Again, the ingredient is also rich in some properties which help in fighting and protection against viruses and bacteria. Ginger helps improve memory. It is also helpful in reducing muscle pain, nausea, menstruation pain, arthritic pain, and bad cholesterol levels too.

For more detailed information on these issues and other diet and nutrition-related topics from the health experts from all across the world, you can refer to MBSF health which primarily focuses on covering a different array of topics and trends from the nutrition and health industry.

Not only can you become aware of certain nutritive ingredients such as these, but you can also understand the alternatives and replacements as per your dietary choices.

  • White Rice

The main ingredient of the sushi is white rice, which is used in its refined form that is wrapped with nearly all the ingredients, vitamins, and fiber. Since sushi is a Japanese dish, here’s something you need to know about the rice used in sushi. It is a rich source of refined carbs and also comes with lower levels of fiber. But the high intake of the white rice would increase the blood sugar levels leading to inflammation. It can also increase the risk of developing diabetes and other heart issues.

Sushi is prepared with rice along with sugar. This helps in breaking of carbs soothing the digestive system. For the people who want to ignore extra carbs, going with brown rice is a good option.

Beside all these ingredients, Sushi is made with some selected vegetables which also carry the bulk of nutrients along that make the dish nutritious. As the dish is low in proteins and high in fats, it is also considered to be one of the best meals for those looking for weight loss. So, what is bad about this amazing dish which is widely loved, let’s learn about it further.

So, What’s the Unhealthy Side of Sushi?

Sushi is made using raw fish, which is fermented for some weeks. This can increase the risk of developing an infection from parasites or bacteria that might have developed. Learn more about infectious diseases associated with sushi here.

Sushi might be contaminated with microorganismsSome of the highly found bacteria and parasites in sushi include Salmonella, Anisakis, Vibrio bacteria, and lastly Diphyllobothrium parasites. This can increase the chances of food poisoning and also weaken the immune system.

The fish can also contain some heavy metals from the polluted oceans like mercury. Fishes like swordfish, tuna, marlin, mackerel, shark, etc. come with the highest mercury levels. Other toxins that the raw fish might come with include scombroid poisoning and ciguatera.

Lastly, sushi is a dish which comes with a high content of salt too. Salt is used while cooking the sushi rice, pickled vegetables as well as the smoked fish. Again, it is also served with soy sauce that is quite high in salt. This might promote blood pressure levels.

Final Thoughts

To conclude, it can be safely said that sushi is a healthy dish when prepared well. However, one should consider the quality and the preparation of it to avoid any health concerns. Replacing some of the ingredients and making sure that fish that is being used for the preparation is clean and devoid of any toxic waste would help in reducing the chances of any health concerns.

The Origins of Hip-Hop Culture – Transformational Creativity

For curious and discerning music aficionados and historians, hip-hop culture is important and can be transformational, especially to young people.

Origins of Hip-Hop

So, what are the origins of hip-hop? Hip-hop culture came from urban young people yearning to express themselves in what can also be called the rat race. The dance or music club scene is also an important part of the origins of hip-hop culture, where DJs and MCs began to talk over and between records and to scratch the vinyl.

Hip-hop scene in NYC in the 70sMulticulturalism and Rap

Another part of the origin of hip-hop culture is ethnic diversity. African-Americans bring a culture of talking braggadocio set to rhythm. Reggae from Jamaica also influenced Puerto Ricans in the 1980s, many of whom were moving to New York City. Because of this cultural cross-pollination, Puerto Rican rap and reggae, and New York rap and reggae all evolved simultaneously.

Breaking Down Hip-Hop

Many music historians and ethnomusicologists consider hip-hop a four-part culture, but it is really even bigger than that. The essential components that are a part of hip-hop culture are:

  • Rapping and rap music, which evolved from MC-ing and DJ-ing
  • MC-ing: An MC is a person who talks between songs at a dance club
  • DJ-ing: A DJ is a person who scratches the records and fades between songs in the dance club
  • Graffiti is considered the visual form of hip-hop culture and music.
  • B-Boying or break dancing is the physical expression of hip-hop culture.

Rap Fashion

One must also include fashion as a part of hip-hop culture. Baggy pants, sideways ball caps, and cool sneakers are all a part of it. In the club scene culture where hip-hop was partially birthed, club kids compete to have the most outrageous or eye-catching fashion.

Hip-Hop Documentary Education

There are four excellent documentary films that help to educate regarding the history and heritage of hip-hop. These films are recommended for those who want to learn more about rap and other parts of hip-hop culture.

  • Scratch (2001) Directed and edited by Doug Pray, Scratch explores the world of the hip-hop DJ and MC and explains the evolution from talking between records, to rap music, to scratching the vinyl records. Scratch also takes us through the advent of turntablism (rap music without words) and shows us the competitiveness of creating hip-hop.
  • Planet B-Boy (2007) B-Boy is alternatively known as break dancing and is not just for New York City street urchins anymore. Breakdancing has become a competitive art form that literally crosses cultural boundaries. Planet B-Boy has some amazing dance footage from competing teams all over the world including Japan, France, Germany, and South Korea.
  • Infamy (2005) Infamy is a documentary film that chronicles the works of some of the more famous graffiti artists from South Bronx, to North Philadelphia to San Francisco. These young graffitists with names like Saber, Toomer, and Earsnot, consider themselves to be guerilla artists working outside the law to create street designs.
  • Nerdcore Rising (2008) This film is essential for understanding hip-hop culture as it includes a little-known subculture within the culture of hip-hop called Nerdcore. Damian Hess is MC Frontalot, and Nerdcore is a small hip-hop movement that celebrates all things nerdy and geeky, including video game and computer culture.

The richest hip-hop artists todayRecommended hip hop listening: A Tribe Called Quest, Blackalicious, Blue Scholars, The Coup, De La Soul, Deee-Lite, Digable Planets, MC 900 Foot Jesus, DJ Dangermouse, Eric B and Rakim, The Fugees, Giant Panda, Gil Scott Heron, Grand Master Flash, Jadakiss, Apache Indian, Kool G Rap, Lady Sovereign, M.I.A., Mos Def, Nas, Pimp C, The Roots, Nappy Roots, Spearhead, YTCracker.

So, the next time someone wants to bash hip-hop culture, suggest some education via documentary films or make them a mix CD of some songs by the musical artists above.