It used to be that if you did your book work at home but worked professionally elsewhere (like in a hospital), you wouldn’t get a tax deduction. But starting in 1999, taxpayers who regularly use a home office for administrative or management activities are allowed a deduction, as long as there is no other fixed location where those activities are conducted. This is a case where Congress is really trying to something reasonable, says Michael Goodman of J.H. Cohn (see story above). For the self-employed there will be added deductions for health insurance as well.

One of the legislators claiming credit for the provision is central New Jersey Congressman Mike Pappas. I’m particularly proud that the provision was included because that will help millions of people throughout our country and many of those people are entrepreneurs in central New Jersey, he says.

In his first year, the Congressman from Rocky Hill has made a practice of stepping out into the public domain quite a bit. For several months he has been holding public town meetings and one-on-one sessions to inform people about the federal government in South Brunswick Public Library on the second Tuesday of the month.

His latest effort to get the message heard: the first Central Jersey Entrepreneur Day, an all-day forum Saturday, September 20, at 9 a.m. at Mercer County College. Call 202-225-5801 for more information. It will feature panel discussions on law, taxes, finances, and international trade, as well as presentations on How to Protect Your Small Business by Peter Cavicchia of the U.S. Secret Service and Small Business Considerations by Sal Risalvato of the National Federation of Small Business. Pappas will speak on the relationship between government and small business.

With the first permanent tax relief that the Congress has enacted in over 16 years," says Pappas, I think it sends a message that the federal government is sensitive to the economic environment that exists today and an improved economic environment that can exist tomorrow.

Pappas, a conservative who is suspicious of taxation, has learned how to compromise. Many people think that we should just scrap the IRS and start from scratch that may not necessarily be the route to go, he says, when asked about the Year 2000-compliance problems the IRS is reportedly facing. Until more people in the country are thinking about it I don’t think that we could enact any kind of comprehensive tax reform such as that.

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