Category Archives: TAX Issues

Tax Deductions NOT to Overlook!!

Attention all Sonoma County Tax payers! Don’t forget THESE Tax Deductions when you file for 2012 Returns!

Believe it or not, as taxpayers, we may overlook some seemingly obvious deductions that could save us more of our hard-earned money. Here are some of those items to keep in mind when tax time is looming. Remember, if you’re ever unsure about a specific deduction, ask a trusted tax preparer, or visit for more information.

Vehicle excise tax.
If you get a bill from your state or local government charging you a tax for owning a vehicle, you may be able to deduct that tax. You can also get the tax deduction if you lease a vehicle and your finance company bills you for the tax.

Job-hunting expenses.
It pays to save your receipts for job-hunting expenses. These expenses are deductible if they were incurred to locate a new job in the same line of work.

Real estate taxes.
Also, don’t forget taxes you paid indirectly, such as taxes paid through a mortgage escrow account. If you bought a house, check your settlement statement for any taxes which you reimbursed the seller at the closing, too.
Continue reading Tax Deductions NOT to Overlook!!

3.8% Home Sales Tax–supporting Health Care Bill. KNOW the Facts!

I was very tired of getting offensive emails stating “Obama Care” was going to hit EVERY home sale with a 3.8% “Home Sales Tax”. These purveyors of untruths actually would show a home sales price of $250,000 and then state: “3.8% or $9,500 you’ll be forced to pay for Obama Care!”. WRONG! As a friend is want to say, “You’re entitled to your OWN opinion BUT NOT your own FACTS!” Here’s a LINK to a great paper put out by the National Association of Realtors explaining the “Tax” and how it applies to Real Estate. It most definitely IS a Tax but NOT what the email campaigns would have you believe!


At the end of it’s first year, the Sonoma County Vacation Rental Ordinance has us wondering “what’s this ordinance REALLY all about?”

Russian River Area Realtor and Vacation Rental Ordinance expert, Kyla Brook — and long time Sonoma County Permit Consultant extraordinaire, Tom Havstad return, Sunday 2/12/2012, to fill us in on some strange goings on at the Permit Resources Management Department (PRMD)….hmmm, imagine that.

Do you own a vacation rental in Sonoma County? Have you complied with the Vacation Rental Ordinance…are you paying your TOT(transient occupancy tax)? …if so, did you also apply for a zoning permit? No? Tune in..this show is for you.

Thinking about buying a vacation rental in Sonoma County? Despite the economy, Sonoma County remains a “destination”, bringing visitors from all over the world….which is a great boon for the local economy. In the Russian River area, vacation rentals flourish…and play a vital role in the city’s economy. Kyla Brook, who has been following, and filling us in, on the Vacation Rental Ordinance from its very inception, has some great insight to offer us…and a helpful list of items the vacation rental buyer should be aware of, and should be sure to investigate as part of their due diligence.

And of course, if it has anything to do with Sonoma County permits, zoning, and/or code violation, we haven’t found anyone more knowledgeable than Tom Havstad. Tom knows the ins and outs of the PRMD, the Sonoma County Planning Department, code enforcement, tax assessor, building department…state and county codes, laws and ordinances. He’ll walk us through the requirements of the Vacation Rental ordinance, what to do and what NOT to do, and he’ll bring to light a rather disturbing possible consequence of the ordinance, leaving us to wonder ” What is this ordinance REALLY all about? “

To reach our guests;

Kyla Brooke, MS, CDPE,  Herth Real Estate
707-481-0098 cell, 707-222-6006 office,


Tom Havstad, Permit Consulting Services

phone/fax:   707-874-2078, cell:  707-695-0857

website:, email:


Here are some helpful links from the PRMD and the Sonoma County Tax assessor.



After a bit of confusion last week…THIS Sunday, SMART TRAIN General Manager Farhad Mansourian, joins us for this week’s show

After a bit of confusion last week, Join us THIS Sunday 2/05 as we discuss the status of the Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit project, better known as SMART, with General Manager, Farhad Mansourian.

Last week, SMART General Manager, Farhad Mansourian, addressed a room full of Sonoma County Realtors and affiliates. His goal was to educate the real estate community, so that we can better inform and educate our clients. I was surprised by how much I (along with many of my fellow Realtors) did not know about the many layers and details of this huge project.

Mr Mansourian, will join us on The Real Estate Hour, Sunday 9-10AM PST 1350AM, to discuss SMART’s short and long range goals, their progress, the jobs the project has and will continue to create, roadblocks they’ve overcome…and those still looming.

This will not be a political discussion of the right or wrong of SMART.

Mr Mansourian was hired to see this project through in these trying times. For him,the question is not whether there should be a train. 70% of the voters in two counties decided on SMART. His job is to make it happen. We look forward to hearing what he has to say.

It will be hard for us to take phone calls for this show…SO, here’s your chance. What’s your burning SMART question??

National Association of Realtors Issues “Red Alert” Call to Action

NAR, the National Association of Realtors has issued a “Red Alert” call to action, asking all Realtors to join them in reminding congress how  important the Mortgage Interest Deduction (MID) is to national and local real estate markets, and to the economy as well.

There has been talk recently of changes to, or the elimination of, the homeowner’s tax deduction for mortgage interest. The federal policy choice to support and nurture home ownership has been in the Internal Revenue code since its inception. Now is not the time to undermine that basic decision.

The tax system does not “cause” home ownership, People buy homes to satisfy many social, family and personal goals. The tax system facilitates home ownership. The tax system supports home ownership by making it more affordable

The state of the real estate market, whether thriving or struggling,  has a huge ripple effect, either buoying, or depressing local economies.  Research has consistently shown that a reduction or loss in the MID will cause the value of existing homes to fall. Research also shows that this loss in value is never fully recouped.

With the help and support of its members, the National Association of Realtors has stood up, once again, in support of the MID. They are asking for your continued support.

Realtors, you can go to the NAR website,, and will be connected via cell phone to your representatives in the House, as well as in the Senate. There is also a list of talking points (from a Realtor’s stand point)

For anyone else interested in taking a stand and voicing your opinion, you can find your representatives by going to;

Breaking News>>>Last Minute Extension for Tax Credit passed!!

From the National Association of Realtors, Friday, July 1, 2010; “I am happy to report that Congress has passed a bill extending the Homebuyer Tax Credit closing deadline to September 30, 2010The extension applies only to transactions that had ratified contracts in place as of April 30, 2010, and have not yet closed.  There will be no gap between June 30 and the date the President signs the bill into law.”