On Equal Pay Day, US president Donald Trump signed an executive order that removes Obama’s Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Order. The previous order specifically addressed the protection of women workers in two clauses regarding paycheck transparency and an end to “forced arbitration clauses,” or “cover-up clauses,” in cases of sexual harassment in the workplace.
It should come as no surprise that a man who’s been accused of sexual misconduct more than 20 times isn’t interested in making the workplace a more equitable place for women. So it’s time that we, as women, take matters into our own hands to bring the Trump administration to heel. And the best way to do that is to take a page out of Trump’s own playbook—by using the US tax laws to our benefit to pay as little tax as legally possible.
Trump himself is a pioneer of this strategy, having been quoted on the campaign trail, saying, “As a businessman and real estate developer, I have used the tax laws to my benefit and to the benefit of my company and my investors and my employees. Honestly, I have brilliantly used those laws. I have often said on the campaign trail that I have a fiduciary responsibility to pay no more tax than I am legally required, like anybody else, or, put another way, to pay as little tax as legally possible.”
Here are a few tips to help keep as much of your hard-earned cash out of the Trump Administration’s coffers—legally.
Find a legit CPA
The first step to making the most of your write-off potential is finding a killer CPA. Like most things in this world, you get what you pay for. A good accountant is no exception. A reputable CPA isn’t cheap, however. What you shell out up front should come back to you in the form of deductions or even a refund. You can also deduct the cost of your accountant from your taxes in the next calendar year. The best way to find one is to ask friends and colleagues in similar lines of work who does their taxes. If you get a “my guy’s all right, but he’s cheap,” keep moving. People who really love their accountants, like me, are happy to refer you, as it usually means a discount off their fee.
Identify nonprofits that reflect your worldview and give generously
Another way to ensure that your money is not going to be used against your interests is to donate to nonprofits that are protecting issues close to your heart. Organizations like Planned Parenthood, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Humane Society, the Sierra Club, or the Nature Conservancy fight the good fight daily and need the public’s help to continue doing so. Put your money to good use by funding these organizations that are doing their best to thwart the Trump regime’s anti-woman, anti-immigrant, and anti-environment agenda. The best part is you can deduct 100% of your donations from your tax return. It’s a win-win. Here’s a list of organizations that need your help.
Are you a freelancer or private contractor? Maybe you do a little consulting on the side? Think about making yourself an S Corp, which literally allows you to split yourself in two as owner and shareholder. As the owner, you’re entitled to pay yourself a reasonable salary. But as a shareholder, you can take money as a dividend leading to serious tax savings. This might sound complicated, but your qualified accountant can walk you through the process, which will no doubt add up to huge tax savings.
Become a write-off pro
Talk to your accountant about write-offs specific to your career. For instance, if you are a creative at an advertising agency, you can routinely write off movies, concerts, and art exhibitions in the name of research for your occupation. Profession-specific write-offs exist for all occupations—no matter if you are a writer, teacher, project manager, or personal trainer you can write off a whole slew of items regularly as well. The key is knowing what you can write off and keeping a detailed record of your receipts. For instance, if you work from home, you can expense a portion of your rent and your entire internet and phone bill. Again, let your accountant be your guide.
Expense your next vacation
When booking your next vacation destination, check to see if there are any industry events or conferences being held in a location you want to visit. That way you can write off the entire trip, i.e. airfare and other transportation, lodging and meals. These items will all be considered “work-related” deductions, even if your conference is only one day.
In no way am I advocating for breaking the law. Rather, it’s time to use the biggest influence we have as private citizens of the United State of America—money and collective bargaining—to resist Trump. For most of us, it’s probably too late to make much of a difference with our 2016 tax returns. But look on the bright side—you still have eight months in 2017 to learn how to write things as brilliantly as the Donald.