Pen and pad in hand, every attendee of Barry Lisak’s Tax Preparation course, held Monday evening at , took copious notes regarding all the changes to both New York and federal state law from 2008.
Lisak, an IRS Enrolled Agent, has become a master of tax law and preparation, and says he combines his experience as an accountant to offer clients realistic, reliable and efficient tax presentations.
Held in the downstairs auditorium of the library, Lisak engaged in an in-depth lecture on all major forms of tax exemptions. He began by covering medical and residence deductions. For instance, under President Obama’s reformed tax laws (passed in 2008), spouses of a deceased person may continue to file as being in a couple for the duration of one year. Additionally, one may file as a surviving spouse for the next two years if there is a dependant living with the tax filer, who should then file their taxes using favorable qualifying widow(er) tax rates.
Continuing to make the audience erupt with laughter as he littered his lecture with sarcastic jokes, Lisak expertly moved on to charitable deductions and those for retirement. Handing out a schedule of topics to be covered, the audience was invited to ask questions, both simple and complex, to the tax expert.
The most compelling topic of the night was to no suprise, the new homeowners tax laws. Since President Obama has been in office, new tax credits have been offered not only to first time homebuyers, but also to "long-time homebuyers."
"This tax credit," explained Lasik, "is for repeated or current homebuyers. Current homeowners can get up to $6,500 if they've lived in their home for at least five years before April 30, 2010."
“The thing is, a lot of these attorneys and tax accountants don’t know the changes in law,” said Lisak. "They go by what they learned in school or taking courses, whether they took classes five years or 50. They're not up to date with the information they know - and it costs their clients a lot of money.”
Standing contrary to that idea, Lisak remarked that he makes sure to go through the newest changes to the laws, to ensure that he can get back as much money as possible for his clients.
Lasik even covered less talked about topics. For instance, when asking about job-related deductions, audience members were shocked to find out they could deduct job search expenses, expenses for day camp and even gambling losses.
"There are tons of things that can be deducted, but only people who work for the IRS know about it," Lasik joked. "That's the secret."
For more information on new and reformed tax laws and available deductions, please visit West Hempstead Library for booklets written by Lisak.