Two dead as Zeta batters South, now a tropical storm

first_imgABC NewsBy MAX GOLEMBO, EMILY SHAPIRO, MELISSA GRIFFIN and IVAN PEREIRA, ABC News(NEW YORK) — At least two fatalities have been reported so far after fast-moving Hurricane Zeta, a Category 2 storm, made landfall on the southeastern coast of Louisiana.The storm landed near Cocodrie, Louisiana, around 5:15 p.m. with wind speeds reaching 110 mph. This is the strongest hurricane landfall in the continental U.S. this late in the season in over 100 years, and the storm could potentially delivering a storm surge of up to 11 feet.Zeta, as of 2 a.m. Thursday, is now a tropical storm as it weakens over central Alabama. The hurricane and storm surge warnings for the Mississippi coast and Florida panhandle have been discontinued.In New Orleans, where fierce winds ripped through the city Wednesday night, New Orleans EMS reported an electrocution fatality in the 8200 block of Palm Street shortly before 8 p.m. The agency said it was tracking many down power lines and urged people to stay inside. New Orleans police also asked residents to shelter in place due to downed power lines, trees and tree branches.The storm disrupted power for more than 542,000 customers throughout the southeast section of Louisiana as of 9 p.m. local time. As a result of the power loss, Lafourche Parish announced a curfew went into effect at 7 p.m. and was slated to be lifted at 6 a.m. Thursday.Mississippi reported more than 167,000 customers had lost power because of the storm, while over 105,000 had lost power in Alabama.At least one person was reported dead by Biloxi, Mississippi, Police Chief John Miller, who told ABC News affiliate WLOZ-TV that there was a storm-related fatality.“I know that we have at least one death related to the storm right now, I do not have any details to give you on that other than we know that one person has perished because of the storm,” Miller told the station.In Jefferson Parish, Zeta breached three major levees in Grand Isle, the town said, also sharing a photo of the damage.Waveland, Mississippi, saw a gust of 104 mph.Tropical storm watches were issued from Mississippi to Alabama to the Florida Panhandle, and even parts of the western Carolinas, including Greenville and Asheville.The forecastA major threat will be a storm surge of up to 9 feet in Alabama and Mississippi.Gulfport and Biloxi could see wind gusts topping 90 mph.Powerful wind gusts could also reach 90 mph in New Orleans. The city canceled all public school classes for Wednesday.New Orleans Regional Transit Authority is suspending all bus, streetcar and ferry services beginning at noon.Rain won’t be as big of a threat. Some areas could see up to 6 inches of rainfall and possible flooding.Tornadoes are possible in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida.Louisiana has been especially hard-hit this hurricane season. Zeta is the third hurricane to make landfall in Louisiana in two months.Because Zeta is moving so quickly, heavy rain and powerful wind gusts will extend well inland across the Southeast, which could cause power outages overnight. Wind gusts Thursday morning could top 50 mph from Atlanta to the western Carolinas.Zeta’s remnants will then slam the Northeast with rain and snow Thursday into Friday. The first accumulating, widespread snowfall of the season is possible for Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and New York’s Hudson Valley.The last time a hurricane made landfall in the U.S. so late in the calendar year was Hurricane Kate in November 1985.Hurricane Zeta is the 27th named storm of the season. In 2005, there were 28.Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

If you have a W-2, you may owe more tax this year

first_imgWork clothes and uniforms required for your work (and not suitable for everyday use) Legal fees and loan losses related to your work as an employee Passport fees for business trips Union dues and expenses Professional society dues Education expenses related to your work as an employee The expenses must be related to your business purpose as an employee. Subscriptions to professional journals and trade publications If you have a significant amount of employment-related expenses and you do not already have such an arrangement in place, now would be the ideal time to talk to your employer about creating an accountable plan for the current tax year and beyond.Does this change my freelance business deductions?No. This change only applies to expenses related to W-2 employment situations. Non-wage earning self-employed individuals can deduct eligible business expenses related to their work on Schedule C or Schedule F of their tax returns.If you have both a W-2 and freelance income, you can still claim the expenses related to your freelance business.Know where you standTake time to learn the new tax rules before you file this tax season. For freelancers with W-2 income to claim and significant business-related expenses that they are hoping to deduct, the elimination of employee business expense deductions from the tax code is unfortunate.However, it’s worth keeping in mind that the increased standard deduction (now at $12,000 for individual filers) may ease some of your tax pain. That being said, it is definitely worth talking to a professional to make sure you know exactly where your tax obligation stands in light of the new laws.Jonathan Medows is a New York City based CPA who specializes in taxes and business issues for freelancers and self-employed individuals across the country. He offers a free consultation to members of Freelancer’s Union and a monthly email newsletter covering tax, accounting and business issues to freelancers on his website — which also features a blog, how-to articles, and a comprehensive freelance tax guide.Jonathan is happy to provide an initial consultation to freelancers. To qualify for a free consultation you must be a member of the Freelancers Union and mention this article upon contacting him. Please note that this offer is not available Mar.1 through April 18 and covers a general conversation about tax responsibilities of a freelancer and potential deductions. These meetings do not include review of self-prepared documents, review of self-prepared tax returns, or the review of the work of other preparers. The free meeting does not include the preparation or review of quantitative calculations of any sort. He is happy to provide such services but would need to charge an hourly rate for his time. Tools and supplies used in your work as an employee One thing’s for sure about The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (tax reform): it has brought about a lot of changes. So many that for busy freelancers, it’s hard to keep up with all the nuances. That’s especially true if you also maintain a 9-to-5 job.That’s why the elimination of tax deductions for employee business expenses may catch you off guard when you file your taxes this year. Here is what you need to know:Who is affected?If you received a W-2 this tax year and you have unreimbursed business expenses related to your employment, then you should take note of the information below. And if you employ individuals and issue W-2s, you should pass this information along to them as well.OverviewEssentially, employees can no longer reduce their taxable income by deducting common business expenses — at least until 2025, when this TCJA provision ends. Under the old tax rules, employees who itemized their deductions (as opposed to claiming the standard deduction) could claim business expenses if those expenses exceeded at least 2 percent of their adjusted gross income (AGI).What’s missing?Prior to 2018, common eligible business expense deductions included: You must adequately account for the expenses to your employer for these expenses within a reasonable time — providing details such as the date, time, and place they were incurred, the amount you spent, and the business purpose of the expense. A home office used regularly and exclusively in your work as an employee and for the convenience of your employer You must return any excess reimbursements within a reasonable and specific period of time as determined by your employer. Professional license fees Is reimbursement possible?Yes, but likely not this tax season. You can ask your employer about setting up an accountable reimbursement plan — which allows you to be reimbursed for expenses as long as these three IRS-instituted rules are met: Job search expenses to seek new employment in your current profession Depreciation of a computer that your employer requires you to use Travel expenses related to your work as an employeelast_img read more