House Sitting in Foreign Locales

House Sitting in Foreign Locales

If you are the adventurous type, house sitting provides a unique way to travel the world. It’s a great way to save money on accommodations, especially if you have extended travel plans. Here is everything you need to know before you consider house sitting in foreign locales.

What is House Sitting?

House sitting is precisely what it sounds like. A person who is looking for free accommodations can make arrangements with homeowners in need of a caretaker. In exchange for free room and board, the house sitter is responsible to look after the property and any pets on site. Sometimes the arrangement lasts a few weeks while others are more long-term.

This is usually facilitated though a house sitting website which requires a membership fee and background check. Once verified, you can peruse property listings around the world. If you are flexible with your schedule, house sitting provides an insider’s perspective of the life and culture of your destination.

Pet Sitting

Some housing assignments will also require pet care. If you have never taken care of animals before, don’t fret! You can volunteer at a local shelter or sign up for animal first aid course. This can boost your credentials and improve your chances of getting your preferred locations.

Mostly, the pet care involves your average household pets…cats, dogs, fish. Sometimes there are more exotic animals like reptiles or birds. Be certain to discuss the specific needs before agreeing to any assignments. The community is based on reviews, so one bad experience could make you a less desirable choice in the future.

Domestic and Foreign Locales

Most people who are interested in house sitting usually want international properties. It is a great way to cut the cost of your trip abroad or extend your travel. However, you don’t have to go halfway around the world to find a prime vacation destination. There are plenty of places closer to home. Often times these are second homes, vacation, or rental properties that need someone to be physically present. There are dozens of house sitting sites to search, so you are sure to find something that matches your skills.

Things to Consider Before House Sitting

Before you make any agreements, make sure that you read your contract thoroughly. Don’t accept any postings if you don’t believe you can fulfill the requirements. There are tons of different options out there, so consider the following things before you sign up for house sitting in foreign locales.

1. Time

House sitting is not a great option for a weekend getaway. Most homeowners are looking for someone to look after their property for a few weeks or even a few months. Some may even want seasonal caretakers or someone to live on site whenever they are out of the country.

2. Finances

Although your accommodations will be provided, you still need to cover the costs to get there. In addition to airfare, you will also need to find local transportation to get you to the property. Sometimes these are in very remote locations and require you to charter local services. Additionally, you should also budget for food and entertainment for the duration of your house sitting assignment.

3. Documents

If you choose an international property, there will be some paperwork involved. If you don’t have a passport, then that is the first document you will need to get. Furthermore, some countries have visa requirements for entry and limitations on tourists’ lengths of stay. Read up on what documentation you will need to avoid any complications with immigration officials.

4. Communication

Traveling abroad always comes with risks, so it is important to stay in contact with friends and family. Most homes provide WiFi, but you can also look into local data plans or SIM cards to keep you connected. This will also help if you need to contact the homeowner in case of an emergency at the property.

5. Research Your Destination

This last point is probably the most important. Many locations appear idyllic on paper, but sometimes appearances are deceiving. Do some research about the surrounding areas and see what local amenities you have. It is also smart to be aware of any safety concerns in the area. You want to be well-prepared for any situation.

House sitting can be a very rewarding experience, but unexpected surprises can turn the perfect vacation into the perfect nightmare. Do your research, weigh your options, and ask questions before signing anything. Before you know it, you could be planning that exotic vacation that never seemed possible.

 

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How to Fix a Tax Preparer’s Mistake

How to Fix a Tax Preparer's Mistake

The American tax system is one of the most complex and cumbersome in the world. With the maze of forms, it is easy to overlook something and make mistakes. Rather than deal with the headache, many Americans choose to hire a professional. But what should you do when a professional botches your return? The important thing is to stay calm and make a plan to fix a tax preparer’s mistake. Here are a few suggestions if you notice a discrepancy.

Discovering a Mistake

Before you file your return, it is your responsibility to look it over carefully. Even professionals make mistakes sometimes. It is up to you to check their work and ensure the accuracy of your return. Ultimately, you will be the one who pays the price in penalties, overlooked deductions, or missed refunds. Don’t be too trusting or complacent when it comes to your finances. It could cost you more in the long run.

Plan of Action

If you do find a mistake on your tax return, you can re-file an amended return. However, before you barge into the tax preparer’s office, look over your contracts and paperwork. If you signed an engagement letter, there may be terms included that protect you. Be certain that you understand what needs to be fixed and that you have all necessary documentation to correct it.

Ask Your Tax Preparer

In most cases, errors are usually the result of an honest oversight. Any reputable service will take the necessary measures to fix a tax preparer’s mistake. Additionally, you can ask them to cover any associated costs if they are at fault. Many professionals will offer to compensate you for any penalties and negotiate with the IRS on your behalf. However, not all tax preparers have the credentials to negotiate forgiveness or reductions.

File an Amended Return

The IRS understands that the tax codes are complex. If you made a mistake, you are definitely not the first person to do so. The re-filing process is very straightforward.  Just file using Form 1040X and include any additional documents that are required. It is important to note that you don’t need to re-file the entire tax return, only the affected forms. Once you fill out the forms, simply submit it to the IRS.

Legal Recourse

If you suspect negligence or more sinister intentions, then you do have legal options you can pursue. If there has been serious misconduct or fraud, you can file a complaint directly with the IRS. Form 14157 and Form 14157-A are available for download on their website. Just fill out the forms and attach your signed affidavit. After that, the IRS will take over and open an investigation with the tax preparer. If they discover any wrong doing, the guilty party will lose their individual tax preparer identification number. Furthermore, they may face actions from state regulatory bodies.

The last resort is to sue for compensation. The courts may offer some financial relief, but consider the costs in both time and money. Depending on how much it is, legal action may not be worth the expense or energy. Weigh the benefits and seek legal counsel if necessary. And remember, everything will get sorted with time. Finding a mistake in your tax return isn’t the end of the world. Do you your homework and figure out which steps you need to take to fix a tax preparer’s mistake.

 

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5 Steps to Prepare for an Economic Recession

Recession

Financial Security in an Economic Recession

The entire world economy has been brought to a standstill as we all watch to see what happens next. Many people fear there is a worldwide recession on the horizon, but the truth is that no one can predict the future. Rather than trying to pinpoint when and why the next one will occur, this article’s aim is to help you financially prepare for an economic recession. These are a few practical adjustments you can make to help your family weather the hard times.

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