The Men’s Club

September 5, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Most people would probably guess that the upper echelon of corporate America is an exclusive, virtually males-only club. And they’d be right. A new Institute for Policy Studies report shows just how exclusive this club is.

Over the past two decades, there are only five instances of women ranking among the top 25 highest-paid CEOs. That means women comprise a grand total of 1 percent of our nation’s top-paid chief executives. Meanwhile, the percentage of women in Congress, while still low, rose from 10 to 18 percent in the same period.

Women are virtually absent from all corner offices, even at companies that bestow less lavish pay packages on their chief executives. A report examining every CEO on the 2012 Fortune 500 list revealed that last year only 3.8 percent of these CEOs were women.

What explains this disparity? Are men just that much better at running huge corporations?

The IPS study, which I helped research, shows just the opposite. Of the CEOs who made the 25 highest-paid lists in at least one of the past 20 years, 38 percent performed poorly — even by the narrowest definition.

Twenty-two percent led companies that either crashed or got bailed out after the 2008 financial crisis. Another 8 percent led companies that paid massive settlements for fraud. And yet another 8 percent wound up getting fired.

The women who barged into this otherwise all-male club didn’t leave particularly stellar records. Two of the four who broke this glass ceiling wound up getting fired. Andrea Jung of Avon got the boot in 2012 after three years of declining profits at the cosmetics giant. She had made the list of the 25 highest-paid CEOs twice, first in 2004 and again in 2008. Her compensation totaled about $26 million in both of those years.

The second woman to be fired: Carol Bartz, former CEO of Yahoo. She made the list in 2009 — her first year in the job — with a $45 million pay package. Two years later, she was discharged for failing to boost the media company’s advertising revenue.

Marion Sandler, who ran Golden West Financial with her husband, Herbert Sandler, made it into the highest-paid CEO list in 1998 with $18 million in compensation. A decade later, Time magazine included both Sandlers in a “top 25 list” of a different sort: “25 People to Blame for the Financial Crisis.” Golden West’s aggressive subprime mortgage lending generated billions for the couple and helped prompt Wachovia’s collapse.

What’s the lesson from these foibles? Inconceivably high pay levels apparently aren’t connected to strong CEO performance —whether the chief executive is a man or a woman.

U.S. corporate culture rewards reckless and value-subtracting behavior. After leading companies to the brink of bankruptcy or embroiling them in expensive fraud cases, most CEOs got away with little or no consequences. In fact, those who got the boot walked away with golden parachutes that averaged $48 million.

Over the next 20 years, more women need to become leaders at the pinnacle of corporate America. The overwhelming male membership in the CEO club is an embarrassment at a time when women are gaining greater equality in most professions.

Equally important, our corporate culture needs to change the way it compensates all chief executives. Male and female CEOs alike shouldn’t be richly rewarded for performance that devastates the long-term health of their companies and the broader economy.


Emily Swift, an Institute for Policy Studies intern and a recent graduate from Earlham College. Distributed via


The Tipping Point

September 5, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said that when a garment gets so old, attempting to patch it with new cloth will just tear it up worse. The authoritarian state seems to be reaching that point, beyond which any attempt to patch it up or prolong its life just inflict new damage and hasten its demise.

The interesting thing about the federal prosecutions of Aaron Swartz and Chelsea Manning is that the vindictive approach to piling up charges and seeking maximum sentences were calculated attempts to send a message to anyone else contemplating sabotage against the information control regime. But those attempts have done more to inspire sympathy among the uncommitted and galvanize the information freedom movement than to terrify would-be leakers. The only effect the state’s terror tactics against Swartz and Manning had on Edward Snowden was to spur him to get out of the U.S. government’s reach and seek overseas protection, and to make sure his data was dispersed to multiple secure locations, before showing his hand.

Among the general public, the prominence of the NSA and Snowden in the media has sparked increased interest in encryption. Leak websites are putting increased effort into adopting more distributed p2p architectures and better anonymization, making leaking anonymously from within the system increasingly safe. And we’re probably seeing the beginning of a mass wave of cloud-related businesses migrating to servers outside of U.S. jurisdiction.

Thanks to an endless series of leaks about the U.S. spying on its supposedly allied countries and international agencies like the IAEA and UN Secretary General’s office, the affection of erstwhile allies is cooling considerably toward the U.S. and some regional trade deals are in jeopardy. The U.S. expended enormous political capital to have Evo Morales’s plane forced down in Europe — all for nothing — and in the process lost whatever South American public affection not already permanently alienated by Yanqui arrogance.

Most recently, public outrage in the UK over harassment of Greenwald’s partner, David Miranda, and the destruction of the Guardian‘s hard drives, in the ongoing NSA saga, probably had a lot to do with Parliament’s unprecedented decision not to carry water for an American attack on Syria. And security analyst Bruce Schneier believes (“Detaining David Miranda,” Schneier on Security, August 27) the public backlash in Britain over Miranda’s detention will make that government a lot more hesitant to do Washington’s bidding in the future.

In the meantime,the U.S. intelligence community’s morale is devastated. NSA campus recruiters have already been blindsided by hostile student questioning that fell short only of driving the recruiters away with actual pitchforks and torches. And now, with the continuing negative exposure in the press, NSA employees around the water cooler reportedly (“If NSA Workers Feel Unloved, Why Don’t They Quit?” Reason, August 26) sound like a cross between Rodney Dangerfield and the Maytag Repairman.

This public cynicism and internal demoralization are further heightened by the death of a thousand cuts Glenn Greenwald and Snowden have inflicted on the NSA and Obama administration. Greenwald’s strategy seems to be to wait until Obama or Alexander make another claim in defense of the NSA, then release another damning document proving it to be a lie.

This, boys and girls, is what we call a tipping point: Everything the state does to suppress leakers and whistleblowers further undermines its moral authority with the public and its own internal morale, leads to disaffection and defection by allies and inspires leaking and whistleblowing on an even bigger scale.


Kevin Carson is a senior fellow of the Center for a Stateless Society ( <> ) and holds the Center’s Karl Hess Chair in Social Theory.

Low-Cost Drugs, Ill-Gotten Gains

September 5, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Some major American healthcare providers are padding their bottom lines by exploiting a federal program meant to help low-income patients. This behavior is netting them billions in ill-gotten gains. And it could be preventing many vulnerable Americans from accessing the low-cost drugs they need to treat and prevent illness.

This abuse needs to be stopped.

In 1992, Congress created a program — known as “340B” — to help caregivers serving disproportionately large numbers of low-income beneficiaries and uninsured patients. Under 340B, drug manufacturers are required to sell their products at a discount to such institutions. The discounted prescriptions are dispensed either through the caregiver’s in-house pharmacy or through a contractual arrangement with an outside pharmacy.

340B has a noble cause. And many of the medications discounted through 340B do in fact go to clinics, hospitals, and medical facilities providing care almost exclusively to uninsured and poor patients.

However, some 340B participants are exploiting the program.

340B only requires caregivers to meet certain minimal thresholds for the number of medically underserved people they treat. For many hospitals, these eligibility standards are easily reached, and some are benefiting from the program’s deep drug discounts while still serving a relatively affluent clientele.

Moreover, participating caregivers are not actually required to pass drug savings along to their patients. The huge discounts they’re getting from pharmaceutical manufacturers don’t necessarily translate to lower pill prices for uninsured and low-income patients.

Given what we have recently learned about some hospital administrators inflating charges for a broad variety of basic services, there’s good reason to believe many sell those discounted drugs at full price to insured patients and then pocket the difference. Indeed, a report by the Raleigh News Observer last year found hospitals that “routinely mark up prices on cancer drugs two to 10 times or more over cost. In some cases, the mark up is far higher.”

Meanwhile, the vulnerable patient populations 340B was intended to help are often still stuck struggling to gain access to affordable pharmaceuticals.

In large part because some healthcare providers are abusing the 340B system, the size and cost of the program are ballooning out of control. The Berkeley Research Group estimates the total the total value of all the medicines sold through the program will more than double from $8 billion in 2010 to $19 in 2016.

Such a surge in expenses might very well be worth if it 340B was largely helping needy patients. But it is not clear that this is actually happening. Although 340B was created to help low-income patients obtain the medicines they need, it has turned into a revenue generator for many hospitals.

Caregivers are now allowed to qualify for the program’s deep drug discounts without passing along those savings to patients in need. Administrators are getting rich off a well-intentioned public program. Too many uninsured and poor patients still don’t have access to discounted drugs. 340B needs to be fixed.


Peter J. Pitts, a former FDA Associate Commissioner, is President of the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest.


Paying for Sex With A Minor Should be a Felony, Say Supervisors

September 5, 2013 by · 1 Comment 

The Board of Supervisors called Tuesday for harsher penalties against those who solicit sex from child prostitutes.

The crime is often “not complained of or conspicuous,” in part because some transactions are facilitated over the Internet, according to Long Beach police Chief Jim McDonnell. But once people start looking, he said, “This is in every big city and every small town across America.”

Los Angeles is one of 13 areas in the country identified by the FBI as having a high incidence of child prostitution.

Sheriff’s Chief of Detectives Bill McSweeney cited a two-mile stretch of Long Beach Boulevard crossing through Compton and Lynwood as a “longtime area for prostitutes and ‘johns’ to transact business and return to local motels” that support the trade.

About 5 percent of the roughly 300 prostitutes who work the area are juveniles, according to McSweeney. He estimated that as many as 1,000 “johns” cruise the boulevard during any 24-hour period.

Soliciting prostitution and having sex with a prostitute are misdemeanors under California law, regardless of whether the person being paid for sex is a minor or an adult.

Supervisors Mark Ridley-Thomas and Don Knabe recommended making the crimes a felony when someone under 18 is solicited or paid for sex. They also want to require those convicted to register as sex offenders and pay a minimum $10,000 fine.

“Our aim today is to make (johns) think twice,” Ridley-Thomas said, calling the crime “nothing short of modern-day slavery.”

Knabe said: “We must address the ‘demand’ side of this crime and make the penalties severe enough so that these ‘johns’ don’t continue to be nameless and free of any criminal record, while the girls are criminalized.”

A Department of Justice study estimates that nearly 300,000 children nationwide are “at risk of commercial sexual exploitation.” Authorities have identified victims as young as 9 years old and estimate the average age of child prostitutes when first sent out on the street at 12 to 14 years old.

Many are runaways from foster care, McDonnell said.

“The victims that we’re seeing are victims over and over again, not only on the streets, but often, unfortunately, in the system,” he said.

Other abuses are common, as child prostitutes are often raped, tortured or beaten by either their pimps or their customers, according to Michelle Guymon of the county Probation Department.

District Attorney Jackie Lacey told the board it was difficult to catch perpetrators, but that vice officers posing as children have had some success.

“This represents a change in our view of who are the true victims,” Lacey said. “These children feel they have no other place to go other than into the arms of their abusers.”

The county’s top prosecutor supported the harsher penalties and suggested another change to the law to take away the most common defense by johns that claim not to know prostitutes are underage.

A woman who identified herself as a survivor of child prostitution said the best deterrents would include jail time and publicizing customers’ names, while community service sentences would do little to stop those who exploit children.

The board voted unanimously to send a letter to the Legislature advocating the tougher sentences and adding Lacey’s recommendation to eliminate a defense of ignorance.

The supervisors also directed its lobbyists to support state and federal bills seeking to increase penalties for sexual crimes against children.

“We have a good opportunity now, as the new legislative season in Sacramento is gearing up, to continue to promote awareness of this horrific problem and develop effective legislation to help the victims and to go after the scumbags who purchase and sell girls for sex,” Knabe said in a statement issued following the board’s vote.

A bill proposed by Sen. Carol Liu, D-Glendale, would require adults who solicit sex from minors to spend a minimum of 90 days in jail.

Pending federal legislation would make soliciting sex from children a federal crime and allocate more resources to fight such crimes.

Both the state and federal bills are awaiting votes by legislative committees.

“Children are our most valuable asset and they should not be treated as commodities,” said Compton Mayor Aja Brown.

Zoning In On Casa Del Mexicano’s Future

September 5, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

While renovations and programming has been delayed, the East Los Angeles Community Corporation (ELACC) plans to kick off operations at La Casa del Mexicano later this month.

According to ELACC President Maria Cabildo, on Sept. 26 the nonprofit organization will hold one of its “Lotería” (Latin American equivalent of bingo) at the facility.

Lotería nights typically involve conversations or organizing, but “we think this time it will be just fun!” Cabildo said.

On Aug. 29, ELACC held a second community meeting since taking over guardianship of the one time nonprofit cultural center from its previous stewards who were forced to relinquish control of the facility and dissolve its decades old nonprofit amid allegations of mismanagement and personal enrichment.

The first meeting, held last spring, drew about 150 people, including a large number of young people brought in by the Foundation, Cabildo said. People at the meeting were asked to weigh-in on what they would like to see go on at the center, located in Boyle Heights.

The second meeting, which drew about 75 people, provided feedback from the first meeting, and break out groups narrowed down what they wanted: an educational, technology and/or cultural center, Cabildo said.

An informal resident committee was also formed to help advise on what activities can be done right away “to keep the space alive,” she told EGP.

Narrowing down the programming focus helps ELACC begin to look into what funding streams are available, she explained.

The programming and building renovations have been stalled because the building transfer has not yet been finalized. According to Cabildo, there have been issues with transferring the property’s title, in large part due to “the way the court decision was issued, the way the Attorney General handled the whole transaction… the title company is being nervous… if the company is not comfortable, it won’t issue a policy.”

Cabildo said the building is not modern, there is no Internet wiring or compatibility, nor is it handicap accessible. The bathrooms also need upgrades, but the building is useable and they are looking forward to starting programming at the site.

“We’re looking forward to how we [ELACC and the community] can work together to make Casa del Mexicano once again an important part of the community life,” she said.

Vernon Connects Residents With Internet Access

September 5, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

DSL and slow Internet service may soon be a thing of the past for residents of Vernon now that the city council has approved a residential Internet service program that will use the city’s fiber optics system to create a fast, reliable and affordable connection for its residents.

The program will use some of Vernon’s underused fiber optics cabling system to connect homeowners and renters who would otherwise not have access to fast Internet service, according to city staff.

City officials say they hope to bridge the digital gap for its residents by becoming an Internet Service Provider, creating, and operating a small-scale broadband residential service program. The Internet will be provided to residents through direct fiber optic connections or via a wireless service connection.

The program will be available to all existing and future residences in the city.

Residents interested in the program will have to pay a one-time set up fee of $100 and $40.65 each month for the service, although that number could change in the future depending on the number of customers who sign up. The monthly fee is roughly $10 less than what residents pay for their current DSL Internet service, according to city staff.

Currently, DSL is the only option for Vernon residents who want an Internet connection in their home. The connection is made through a phone line or modem, which according to the city is not as fast as cable Internet, which requires a TV coax connection. The change would provide service that is 10 times faster, according to staff.

The setup cost will include installation of a wireless router that will make Wi-Fi service available at home.

Vernon’s Light & Power Department Fiber Optic Division owns and operates the fiber optic cabling system along the City’s rights of way, which had previously only been used for communication purposes between city departments. Since 2006, the city has been using its excess fiber optic capacity to service businesses, for a fee.

According to an initial staff survey, 24 of 31 existing residences are expected to sign up for the city’s service. The program will also be available to residents of the Meta Housing units, scheduled to be built in the city later this year.

The city is not expected to make money off the program since the low monthly charges are just enough to allow the city to recoup its expenses.

The program is expected to be up and running by November 1.  City staff has been directed to report back to council in one year with any findings regarding the program.


Q&A: Restaurant Workers Movement is Just Beginning

September 5, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Hundreds of fast food workers from about 60 cities nationwide struck work Aug. 29 demanding a minimum wage of $15-an-hour and union privileges. Oakland, Calif. resident Saru Jayaraman, co-founder of Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, said labor rights leaders are going to continue maintaining the pressure on restaurant owners until their employees are given a living wage. She spoke to NAM health editor Viji Sundaram the day after the strike.


NAM: Were you satisfied with Thursday’s turnout? And have you heard of any retaliatory action against those who struck work?

Saru Jayaraman: It was a great turnout, and no, we haven’t heard of any retaliatory action so far.

NAM: What is the mission of your organization, Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC-U) and why did you start it?

SJ: We started it after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, when some 72 employees of the Windows on the World restaurant, housed in the World Trade Center, lost their lives and many were displaced.

NAM: The SEUI organized yesterday’s strike, even though less than one percent of restaurant workers are unionized. Will it help employees achieve what they are trying to get by joining a union?

SJ: Unions are not the only way to organize. My organization, ROC-U is trying to improve working conditions for restaurant workers. We have 10,000 members in 30 cities and around 100 employer partners, and several consumer members, and we have led and won 13 major campaigns against exploitation in high-profile restaurant companies.

NAM: The U.S. restaurant industry employs around 10 million people. How many of them are from communities of color?

SJ: I wouldn’t know how many of the employees are from communities of color. I can only guess that it is about half.


But here’s what I do know: The restaurant industry is the largest employer of minimum wage employees, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. The median age of a worker is in the mid-30s, and one in four of them is a parent. Most of them earn as little as $7.25 an hour, and 90 percent of them get no health insurance or paid sick leave. If the minimum wage had kept pace with inflation, the worker should be paid at least $15 an hour. That’s what we are asking for.


NAM: What was the impetus for this recent strike?

SJ: The Occupy Movement (in 2011) started the conversation about the one percent owning everything, and 99 percent owning little or nothing. The Walmart strike earlier this year for better wages and living conditions influenced fast food workers, among whom pressure had been building for a long time, to say enough is enough.

NAM: So what now?

SJ: We are going to continue to build momentum around wages. Consumers are beginning to join in the struggle. We think the protests will grow from fast food restaurant employees to those in full service restaurants.


This is going to be a huge issue in the mid-term elections.

Olvera Street 1st Friday of the Month Tardeada Celebration!

September 5, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

(City of Los Angeles)

(City of Los Angeles)

Friday, Sept. 6

4-8pm—Olvera Street 1st Friday of the Month Tardeada Celebration! Enjoy live music, dancing and artisans as they move through the historical marketplace. Enjoy a free intro to paper flower-making workshop; stay for dinner and see what’s new at the Olvera Street stores and eateries. Olvera Street is located at the El Pueblo Historical Monument in downtown L.A.; 845 N. Alameda St. (cross street is Cesar Chavez) across from Union Station. $5 parking, all day, every day in Lot #5 at 711 Alameda St. Cash only. For more information, call (213) 625-7074.

Community Calendar: September 5, 2013- September 11, 2013

September 5, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Today, Thurs, Sept. 5

5:30-7pm—Metro Art Moves DTLA First Thursday of the Month Summer Tours: Meet at the 7th Street/Metro Center Station, northeast corner of Figueroa and 7th St, under the ceiling mural by Terry Schoonhoven. Tour participants get free TAP cards loaded with day passes. Tour ends at Civic Center/Grand Park Station at Out of Office event, with live music and food trucks. 90% walking tour. For more details, visit

7pm—“What TRIBE” Multi-Media Exhibition Opening Reception at Self Help Graphics & Art. The What TRIBE project is designed to discuss negative stereotypical images of Native Americans in media and other diverse cultures. Self Help is located at 1300 East 1st St., LA (Boyle Heights) 90033. For more information, go to


Friday, September 6

9am-6pm—Montebello No Permit Required Garage Sale Day. Code allows garages sales in residential zones four weekends per year. No permits or fees required this weekend. All items for sale must be kept on private property and not encroach into neighboring property or the public right-of-way. Not more than one sign per location. For more information please contact the City of Montebello Code Enforcement Division at (323) 887-1486.


Saturday, Sept. 7

7am-8pm—ARTFEST 2013 At the East Los Angeles Civic Center. All day event includes a events for the entire family, starting with the Fishing Derby, 7 to 11am; East LA Bicycle Ride at 10am, (register at 8:30am) and bike decorating contest; Taste of East LA with great food from local eateries, 11am to 8pm; Art Walk and All Day Concert. Free admission. East LA Civic Center is located at 4801 E. Third St. LA 90022. Take Metro Gold Line East LA Civic Center Station & avoid parking hassles. For more info, call (323) 260-2360 or visit Presented by LA County Parks & Recreation and Sup. Gloria Molina.

8am—Autism Speaks & Community Groups Host Free Developmental Screenings at Magnolia Place Family Center. Screenings-call for appointment- open to children age 5 and under; only 100 appointments available. Bilingual staff also available to answer questions on early warning signs & to provide information on available resources. Magnolia Place is located a 1910 Magnolia Ave LA 90007. For more information or to register, visit


Saturday, Sept. 7

8am—Community Walk & Talk with Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia in Montebello. All walkers will have an opportunity to ask questions and discuss issues of importance with Garcia, who will also be accepting donations of new socks, underwear & travel sized toiletries (toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, etc.) that will be distributed to the homeless and those in need.  Meet 8am sharp at Montebello City Park, 1300 W. Wittier Blvd. For more information, call (562) 402-4893.

9am-3pm—Too Toxic to Trash: Free LA County Hazardous & E-Waste Roundup at the County Dept. of Public Works headquarters in Alhambra. Safely discard household hazardous waste such as antifreeze, unused pharmaceuticals, car batteries, used motor oil, paint, pesticides, home-generated sharps waste such as hypodermic needles, pen needles, syringes, lancets, and intravenous needles, universal waste including household batteries, fluorescent light bulbs, and electronic waste (e-waste) such as TVs and monitors, computers, VCRs, stereos, and cell phones. The County Public Works headquarters are located at 900 S. Freemont Ave., Alhambra. For more information, call County of LA Dept. of Public Works at 1(888) CLEAN LA or go to, contact LA County Sanitation Districts at 1 (800) 238-0172 or


Tuesday, Sept. 10

3:30-5:30pm—Free Grandparents Day Craft Activity at Bell Gardens Veterans Park. Celebrate your grandparents by making them a special craft. They’re sure to love your hand-made work-of-art made especially for them. Park is located at 6662 Loveland St, Bell Gardens 90201.


Wednesday, Sept. 11

10am-2pm—City of Commerce 5th Annual Job Fair at the Citadel Outlets. Meet employers who have job openings right now or are looking to hire in the near future. Bring resumes and dress in job appropriate attire. Participation is free of charge. The Citadel Outlets are located at 100 Citadel Dr., Commerce 90040. For more information, call (323) 887-4461.

8:30 a.m. – Patriot Day Remembrance Ceremony  at Monterey Park City Hall. A moment of silence will take place on the lawn of the city hall as well as a placement of a wreath by members of the police and fire departments. . The event, will coincide with the U.S. Patriot Day and National Day of Service and Remembrance. City hall is located at 320 W. Newmark Ave. Monterey Park 91755.



Talk With Acclaimed Author Victor Villasenor at the East LA Library on Sept. 14th from 2 to 3pm. This celebrated Mexican American author is most well known for his New York Times bestseller Rain of Gold. Author of 10 other novels including, Burro Genius and Crazy Loco Love, his work has been compared to John Steinbeck and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. The library is located at 4837 E. 3rd St. LA 90022. For more information, call (323) 264-0155.

LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes present Arpex, Cambalache and Conjunto Xi, Sept. 14 from 7 to 9pm. Discover different rhythms of traditional Mexican music with Latin Grammy nominee, Arpex. This harp ensemble, also known for their Smithsonian Folkways recording, ¡Tierra Caliente!, delivers traditional sounds from the ranches of rural Michoacán, Mexico. Conjunto Xi brings music from the Huasteca region of Mexico – a region bounded by the states of Veracruz, Hidalgo, Tamaulipas, San Luis Potosí, Querétaro, and Puebla. The huapango (or son huasteco) is characterized by the falsetto voice, violin, and two guitar-like instruments. LA Plaza is located at 501 N. Main St., LA 90012. For more information, call (888) 488-8083 or go to .

City of Commerce’s 2013 College Fair will be held Sept. 21 at Veterans Park. Get information on the steps to getting into college, class requirements, SATs and the application & selection process. Bilingual workshops. More than 30 colleges & universities are scheduled to participate. Raffle for Netbooks, graphic calculators, gifts cards & more. The fair will take place from 10am to 2pm. Lunch is free. Veterans Park is located at 6364 Zindell Ave, Commerce 90040. For more information, call (323) 722-6660 or visit

Making the Home Office Deduction Easier

September 5, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

If you are like many of the people who work from home these days, you are probably already familiar with the home office tax deduction, and how difficult it is to calculate it on your tax returns.

According to the Internal Revenue Service, IRS, however, beginning this year there is a new, simpler option available for figuring out the business use of your home. The rules are the same as to who can take the deduction, what’s different is the simpler means of calculation and recordkeeping requirements, the IRS states in a press release. According to the IRS, the new option can save you a lot of time and will require less paperwork and recordkeeping.

Here are six tips from the IRS on how to use the new, simplified method to claim the home office deduction.

1.  You may use the simplified method when you file your 2013 tax return next year. If you use this method to claim the home office deduction, you will not need to calculate your deduction based on actual expenses. You may instead multiply the square footage of your home office by a prescribed rate.

2.  The rate is $5 per square foot of the part of your home used for business. The maximum footage allowed is 300 square feet. This means the most you can deduct using the new method is $1,500 per year.

3. You may choose either the simplified method or the actual expense method for any tax year. Once you use a method for a specific tax year, you cannot later change to the other method for that same year.

4. If you use the simplified method and you own your home, you cannot depreciate your home office. You can still deduct other qualified home expenses, such as mortgage interest and real estate taxes. You will not need to allocate these expenses between personal and business use. This allocation is required if you use the actual expense method. You’ll claim these deductions on Schedule A, Itemized Deductions.

5. You can still fully deduct business expenses that are unrelated to the home if you use the simplified method. These may include costs such as advertising, supplies and wages paid to employees.

6. If you use more than one home with a qualified home office in the same year, you can use the simplified method for only one in that year. However, you may use the simplified method for one and actual expenses for any others in that year.


Visit for more about this easier way to deduct your home office. 


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