Travel Tip Tuesday: Should You Hire a Travel Consultant?

travel tip tuesday Travel Tip Tuesday: Should You Hire a Travel Consultant?

There seems to be a fair bit of confusion around the Internet about what exactly a travel consultant does and how her duties differ from those of a travel agent.

Truth be told, it is a reasonable question.

L.A. Times Travel Editor Catharine Hamm covered this last year but it also has a lot to do with business model and area of expertise.

Still, in today’s Internet age, travel consultants aren’t for everyone. If you are wondering if you should hire a travel consultant, here are five questions you should ask yourself.

1. Am I traveling to a well-known destination?
If the country or region you plan to visit is well-known, then you will likely be able to find guide books, blogs and websites that can help you plan your itinerary. Maybe you have friends or family members who have visited or you have read about the area in newspapers or magazines. If you are traveling to a very well known region, you might not need a consultant.

2. Is the destination too well-known?
On the other hand, if you are visiting an overly touristy country, your risks are equally as high. More tourists mean more tourist trap hotels, restaurants and one-size-fits-all tours. And that’s not good, either. An expert travel consultant can steer you from the crowds or recommend less-traffic areas for your vacation.

3. How much time do I have before my trip?
Time is money and if you are spending all of your time in the office, you likely don’t have the time-or energy- to properly research your trip. If you have less time than money, then it’s a no-brainer-as a travel consultant will save you both. Hire an expert.

4. How much time do I have on my trip?
While it is true you always want to maximize your time during a vacation, if you are planning an international trip and only have a week or two, you can’t afford to waste precious vacation time. A travel consultant will tell you which trains to take, where to rent a car and which days are better spent for various activities on your itinerary.

5. Do I speak the language or will the locals speak mine?
If you are traveling to a less-touristy area where they don’t speak English a travel consultant will be able to help you secure your hotel bookings and reservations. If you speak the language or can find a hotel or B&B that speaks several languages, you are in luck.

There are many benefits to hiring a travel consultant that I didn’t list in this post-these five questions are listed to help you decide if a travel consultant is right for you. If you are traveling to southern Italy or Calabria and are considering hiring a travel consultant, click here to see how I can help you plan your itinerary.

Speaking of consultants, don’t forget to visit Robin at My Melange and see what travel tips she has today.

Until next time … Buon Viaggio.

Effect of amended returns on required estimated tax payments of individuals

The CPA Journal June 1, 1996 | Steinberg, Joel Individuals who fail to make required payments of estimated tax are subject to penalties under IRC Sec. 6654. In general, the required installments of an individual’s estimated tax are based on the tax shown on the return for the taxable year or the tax shown on the return for the preceding taxable year. How does the filing of an amended return affect the required estimated tax payments and the penalty for underpayment of estimated tax?

In Rev. Rul. 83-36, the IRS held that if an individual taxpayer files an amended return after filing the original return and before the due date for filing the original return (including extensions), the amended return would be considered to be “the return for the taxable year” for purposes of determining the underpayment penalty. For example, Mr. Jones filed his 1994 income tax return on March 1, 1995, showing a tax liability of $10,000. Jones had timely paid 1994 estimated taxes of $9,000. Then Jones files an amended tax return for 1994 on April 5, 1995, showing a tax liability of $11,000. Assuming that Jones’ estimated tax payments did not equal or exceed his 1993 tax liability and that he did not meet any exceptions to the penalty, he would be subject to an underpayment penalty since his estimated tax payments were less than 90% of “the tax shown on the return for the taxable year.” Conversely, Rev. Rul. 83-36 provides that if an individual taxpayer files an amended return after the due date of the return (including extensions), the amended return is not “the return for the taxable year.” The tax shown on the amended return cannot be used for purposes of determining the underpayment penalty. In the example above, if Jones waited to file his amended return until May 1, 1995, he would not be subject to the underpayment penalty. go to web site estimated tax payments

Individual taxpayers may meet their estimated tax requirements by paying a “safe harbor” amount which equals or exceeds 100% (110% for certain highincome taxpayers) of their tax liability for the preceding year. What is “the tax shown on the return for the preceding taxable year” when an amended return has been filed? The IRS has applied rules relevant to corporations to individuals. IRC Sec. 6655 provides the underpayment of estimated tax penalty for corporations. Certain corporations may use their preceding year’s tax liability as a “safe harbor.” In Evans Cooperage Co. v. United States, 712 F. 2d 199 (5th Cir. 1983), the court held that the tax shown on the original return filed for the preceding year is “the tax shown on the return for the preceding taxable year” rather than the tax shown on an amended return filed after the original due date. For example, Mr. Smith filed his 1994 income tax return on March 15, 1995 showing a tax liability of $15,000. Smith filed an amended return on April 10, 1995, showing a tax liability of $20,000. Assuming Smith can use the 100 percent “safe harbor,” his 1995 estimated tax requirement is $20,000. If instead, Smith filed his amended return on April 25, 1995, he would need to pay only $15,000 for 1995 estimated taxes to be protected from underpayment penalties. web site estimated tax payments

Taxpayers will not be assessed an additional underpayment penalty if the tax shown on an amended return, filed after the due date of their original return, indicates that there was an actual underpayment of estimated tax. Taxpayers who file an amended return showing a lower tax liability after the due date are not entitled to a refund of any underpayment penalty which may have been paid. These rules similarly apply if the taxpayer’s liability is subsequently adjusted by the IRS.

Notwithstanding the rules discussed above, Rev. Rul. 80-355 provides that if taxpayers file a joint return after the due date to replace separate returns originally filed by the due date, the tax liability shown on the amended return is to be used to determine the required estimated tax payments.

[Author Affiliation] By Joel Steinberg CPA, Richard A. Eisner & Co. LLP Steinberg, Joel

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Comments

  1. I guess my biggest question is ….and still is…I know that Travel agents get paid by small commisions on “hopefully” large volumes of reservations. How can a travel consultant make a living? I’m a small business person and I want the people I deal with to make a living equal to their expectations, but just don’t see the profit in the “consultant” side.

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