Confidence must be shown
Q: After being promoted to a deputy director position in my agency, I initially felt excited and grateful. However, I have now become disillusioned, because the director doesn’t include me in any activities. I am supposed to be her back-up, yet I know nothing about her job. She also questions any ideas that I propose. I have a shy personality and am not very aggressive, so I’m not sure how to gain authority in my new role. So far, this promotion has involved a change in title and pay, but no real increase in responsibility. How can I stop being a token deputy?
A: Although you’re feeling intentionally excluded, it’s unlikely the director would choose you for this job, then deliberately sabotage your success. A more probable explanation is that your “shy personality” is keeping you on the sidelines.
While having a quiet temperament can be an advantage, timidity will only hold you back, so you need to display more self-confidence. If you wish to be included in a project, explain why your involvement would be helpful. When the director questions your ideas, don’t immediately abandon them.
Because a deputy’s duties are largely determined by what the person above decides to delegate, these positions are often poorly defined. Because your job description appears to have gaps, take the initiative to draft a new one, then review it with your boss.
— Marie G. McIntyre
McClatchy-Tribune News Service
Land donations complicated
Q: I’m considering donating a vacant lot to Habitat for Humanity to offset taxes on other property I’m selling. For tax-deduction purposes, can I use the property’s assessed value or must I use the estimated market value? If the latter, is the cost deductible?
A: The general rule is that charitable deductions for donations of property are limited to the property’s fair market value at the time of the contribution.
But if the property has increased in value, the donor might have to make some adjustments to the deduction amount. For example, if you contribute property with a fair market value that is more than your basis (what you paid for it), you might need to reduce the fair market value by the amount of appreciation when figuring your deduction. For more information, look at IRS Publication 551, “Basis of Assets,” at www.IRS.gov.
Also, please be advised there are limitations based on the donor’s adjusted gross income. Generally, the amount you can deduct for charitable contributions cannot be more than 50 percent of your adjusted gross income. Your deduction may be further limited, depending on the type of property you give and the type of organization you give it to. For details, see IRS Publication 526, “Charitable Contributions.”
You mention that you are considering donating a vacant lot to offset taxes on other property you sold. Depending on your circumstances, the charitable contribution might not help as much as you would like.
For example, the property you’re selling might be considered inventory if you are a developer and have multiple units for sale.
To take a deduction for state or federal taxes, donors need to file IRS Form 8283, “Noncash Charitable Contributions,” and attach an appraisal by a qualified appraiser.
— Claudia Buck, Sacramento Bee
How to keep laptop awake
Q: When my laptop goes to sleep, it loses its connection to my home Wi-Fi network. If I unplug the Wi-Fi router’s electrical cord, then plug it back in, the laptop reconnects again. Any idea how to fix this?
A: You can change the settings on your PC so it doesn’t go to sleep. Go to “Start,” click “Control Panel” and select “Power Options.” On the following menu, see whether the “balanced” or “power saver” options are checked; next to the one that’s checked, click “change plan settings.” Next to “put the computer to sleep” is a drop-down menu; from the list select “Never,” then click “save changes.”
— Steve Alexander
Minneapolis Star Tribune