Community Service Month – Ways to Volunteer

Did you know that April is, among other things, Community Service Month? So we thought, what better way to celebrate the month of April than to find out ways to get involved in our local community? When I think of the term “volunteer opportunities,” all that comes to mind is picking up trash on the side of highways or working in a soup kitchen during Thanksgiving and Christmas – both great ways of contributing to the community, but those aren’t all-encompassing.

Did you know there are 77 opportunities to volunteer within Polk County alone? I didn’t either – at least, not until I stumbled upon www.volunteermatch.org. So what are these 77 options to volunteer? Glad you asked. Let’s talk about a few.

  1. Mentors for Elementary Students – This is kind of like a Big Brother/Big Sister type of Doing Homework 04relationship. According to www.mentoring.org, students who meet on a regular basis with mentors are less likely to skip school, start using drugs or start drinking.
  2. Homework Helpers – Mostly for elementary-age students, this is similar to tutoring, but all you do is sit down, help the students with their homework, and review concepts or terms the student may have just learned in school that hasn’t quite sunk in yet. Think what a difference it could make!
  3. Magician 06Magicians or Karaoke Performers/Leaders for Nursing Homes – Just imagine how many smiles you could inspire by pulling a rabbit out of a hat or singing a rousing rendition of “I Will Survive.” You should probably make sure you can actually do either of those things before you apply, though. =)
  4. Office Assistant or Greeter Volunteer – Many times, all that’s needed to brighten someone’s day is a cheerful voice on the other side of the phone or a smile to greet you when you walk into a doctor’s office.
  5. Speak Up for Children – Across Florida alone in 2016, the Department of Children & Families reports that 135,728 children experienced child abuse. Many of these children need an advocate or a voice when they have none. Maybe you could be that person.

These are just a few of the ways to get involved and volunteer in our community. For more information about opportunities and who to contact, please visit https://www.volunteermatch.org/search/org13105.jsp.

And, as a tax office, we would be remiss if we didn’t address the obvious question – is community service tax deductible? Find out by reading our blog post entitled, “Community Service – Can I Deduct That?”

So what about you? Do any of these volunteer opportunities interest you? How are you getting involved this “Community Service Month”? Let us know in the comments!

History Behind the Holiday: April Fools’ Day

Our annual calendar is filled to the brim with holidays we celebrate, many of which we do not truly know the origins. So in honor of April Fools’ Day, we thought we’d do a little history lesson to inform those who may not know the real meaning or history behind the holiday (and educating ourselves a little bit in the process).

April FoolsWhen & Where Did It Begin?

The tradition of “April Fools’ Day” was popularized in England on April 1, 1700 by playing practical jokes on each other. However, this day is believed to date back as far as the late 1500’s.

How Did It Begin?

The exact origins of April Fools’ Day is unknown, however, there are a few theories as to where and when it originated. In 1582, France switched from the Julian Calendar (which had the New Year beginning in late March or early April) to the Gregorian Calendar (used today in which the New Year begins on January 1st). This change was called for by the Council of Trent in 1563. Those who were late in getting this information or who simply did not believe it continued to celebrate the new year at the end of March/beginning of April, and they became the recipients of many jokes and hoaxes.
Other possible origins of April Fools’ Day are Hilaria, an ancient festival celebrated in Rome at the end of March which involved people dressing in disguises, and the vernal equinox, which is the first day of Spring in the northern hemisphere described as when Mother Nature tricks people with fickle weather.

How It’s Celebrated TodayApril 1

Obviously, there are many pranksters who participate in April Fools’ Day on an individual basis, but did you know that newspapers, radio and TV stations participate as well? For example, in 1957, the BBC ran a news story about Swiss farmers who were having a record-breaking spaghetti crop. In 1996, Taco Bell falsely announced its plans to purchase the Liberty Bell and rename it the “Taco Liberty Bell.” Another fast-food conglomerate, Burger King, advertised a “Left-Handed Whopper” in 1998, resulting in many confused orders being placed.

How We Celebrate

Here at Lynco, April Fools’ Day unfortunately pales in comparison to the upcoming tax return deadline, which is on Tuesday, April 18th this year. However, since a client once thought the amount of tax she owed was actually an April Fools’ joke, Lynn has decided to no longer tell a client how much tax they owe or how big their refund in on April 1st!

So, did you know the history behind April Fools’ Day? And how do you celebrate it? Let us know in the comments below!

How to Save A Life

jigsaw-people

I received some shocking news from my mother yesterday.  First of all, let me preface this by saying that I live with my mom in a condo located in a retirement community in central Florida (i.e., you have to be at least 55 years old to own a condo there, and your kids can live with you as long as they’re pre-approved).  Anyway, after my mom got home from work, she informed me that our 70-something year old neighbor had passed away in his home.  The people who found him weren’t sure how long he’d been there or what had caused him to pass away.  I could tell my mom was racked with guilt – what if, in his final moments, he’d made some kind of noise we might have heard and disregarded that could have saved his life?  I told her not to feel bad – there was nothing we could have done – but it did bring to mind a life lesson to be learned.  How many elderly people do my mom and I know who live alone?  They need people (friends or family) to check in on them periodically to make sure everything’s okay.  That way, accidents that can be prevented or addressed in a timely manner ARE addressed in a timely manner.

For example, my mom’s parents moved out to New Mexico when they retired.  They were miles away from any family, and as they grew older, they had less and less ability to reach out to friends on a daily basis.  However, next door to my grandparents moved a young family that immediately took my grandparents under their wing.  They were there, checking on them, offering to give them rides to the doctor or hospital when needed, making them food when they couldn’t cook for themselves – simple things that went a long way toward ensuring my grandparents lived a longer, more fulfilling life.  I will never forget the kindness they showed my grandparents, and I will be forever thankful.

It’s up to us, the children and the grandchildren (and even neighbors), to ensure our elderly friends and loved ones are looked after and checked up on a regular basis.  Our website at www.LyncoFinancial.net has an “Info for Seniors” page packed with articles and other helpful tips for family members of seniors to know.  Please visit the page to arm yourself with the knowledge you may need to one day, possibly, save a life.

Helpful articles on the “Info for Seniors” page:

 

-Written by CJ Volpe, Client Services Manager at Lynco Financial & Tax Services, Inc.

Family Fun this Fall!

Just in case you’re sitting at home wondering what to do with your family in Polk County this Fall, we’ve got you covered!

Pioneer Days in Lake Wales

When:  October 29-30, 2016  (Times Vary)
Where:  On the Shores of Beautiful Lake Wales
More Info:  Call 863-678-4182 or visit http://www.cityoflakewales.com/555/Pioneer-Days

Harvest Holler corn mazeHarvest Holler in Polk City

When: Fridays, Saturdays & Sundays thru November 13, 2016  (Times Vary)
Where:  Off of Hwy 33 at 950 Tavares Rd, Polk City, FL 33868
More Info: Call 863-326-7910 or visit www.harvestholler.com

CornFusion Crop Maze & Fall Festival

When: October 28-30, 2016  (Times Vary)
Where: 13444 Moore Road, Lakeland, FL 33809
More Info: Email info@CornFusionMaze.com or visit http://www.smithranchlakeland.com/cornfusion-crop-maze-and-fall-festival.html

Polk County Sheriff’s Haunted Jail Tour

When: October 28-29, 2016  (6-11 PM)
Where: PCSO jail, 255 N. Broadway Avenue, Bartow, FL
More Info: Visit http://lrcpolk.com/2016-fall-festivals-halloween-events-polk-county/

Rocky Horror Picture Show

When: October 28-29, 2016  (Part begins at 9 PM; Movie at midnight)
Where: Polk Theatre, Lakeland
More Info: Visit http://lrcpolk.com/2016-fall-festivals-halloween-events-polk-county/

Mel Brook’s Young Frankenstein

When: October 28-30, 2016  (Times Vary)
Where: Lakeland Community Theatre, 121 S. Lake Ave, Lakeland
More Info: Visit http://lrcpolk.com/2016-fall-festivals-halloween-events-polk-county/

costume-pumpkinPumpkin Safari

When: October 29-30, 2016 (1-6 PM)
Where: Safari Wilderness Ranch, 10850 Moore Road, Lakeland
More Info: Visit http://lrcpolk.com/2016-fall-festivals-halloween-events-polk-county/

Brick-or-Treat at Legoland

When: October 29-31, 2016  (10 AM – 8 PM)
Where: Legoland, Winter Haven, FL
More Info: Visit http://lrcpolk.com/2016-fall-festivals-halloween-events-polk-county/

St. Joseph’s Annual Fall Carnival

When: November 4-6, 2016  (Times Vary)
Where: St. Joseph, 210 West Lemon Street, Lakeland
More Info: Visit http://lrcpolk.com/2016-fall-festivals-halloween-events-polk-county/

The Shallow Grave

When: Fridays & Saturdays thru November 5  (Times Vary)
Where: 701 42nd St NW, Winter Haven
More Info: http://lrcpolk.com/2016-fall-festivals-halloween-events-polk-county/

For more single-date events going on in Polk County, please visit http://lrcpolk.com/2016-fall-festivals-halloween-events-polk-county/

 

Well, there you have it!  So let’s get outside this weekend and have some fun with our families!  Where are you going this Fall?  Let us know in the comments!

 

Do You Feel Lucky? | Lynco Financial & Tax Services, Inc.

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day!

Recent changes in estate tax laws could affect the strategy you have in place.

Source: Do You Feel Lucky? | Lynco Financial & Tax Services, Inc.

Announcing the Winner!

Last week, we had a book signing for Lynn’s recent best-selling book, “The Tax Detective: Uncovering the Mystery of Tax Planning,” and we also had a sign-up sheet for our monthly e-newsletters.  We proposed that every person who signed up to receive our newsletters would get entered into a drawing for the chance to win a complimentary 30-minute tax planning consultation with Lynn.

Well, thank you to every who came to the book signing and made it such a special day!

We had our staff accountant, Michelle, do the honors of drawing our winner.

Tax Planning Consultation - Drawing the winner

Here Michelle is, about to draw the winner.

Tax Planning Consultation Winner

Congratulations, Rhonda!

Congratulations to Rhonda for being selected as the winner!  We can’t wait to see you for your complimentary 30-minute tax planning consultation with Lynn!

Thank you again to everyone who stopped by the book signing as well as those who bought books and signed up to receive our newsletters.  Have a wonderful day, and remember, our goal is to help YOU keep more of what you make and save more of what YOU keep!  Call us today at 863-295-9895 and let us help you.

Corn Mazes are Corn-MAZING!

Autumn is a wonderful time of year to decorate pumpkins, watch the leaves change (in Florida, they go from green to slightly less green, but who am I to complain?), and deck the house with cute scarecrows and fall wreaths a-plenty.  But what else is there to do in Florida to get in the festive Fall spirit?  Why, corn mazes, of course!  Corn mazes are fun for the whole family, and there just so happen to be two corn mazes right here in Polk County.  (Who knew, right?!)

1) The first corn maze is the well-established CornFusion Crop Maze & Fall Festival in Lakeland off of Moore Road.  Their attractions include a corn maze, pumpkin patch, zombie hayride and more.  Make sure you hurry over there, because the fun ends on Sunday, November 1st!

2)  The second corn maze is the Harvest Holler located 10 miles outside of Lakeland on CR 33.  This is their third year in operation, and they already have a corn maze, mini-golf course, hayride, tractor ride for kids, corn hole, pumpkin patch, concession stand and general store with homemade jams, honey, and cobbler that will knock your socks off.  This attraction ends on Sunday, November 15th, so if you want to go, make sure you visit soon!

There’s nothing more fun than spending some quality time with family during the Fall season.  Hopefully you’ll be able to check out one of these venues with your loved ones to make some memories that will last forever.