November 29, 2015

My Vote for Retailer Flub of the Year Goes to ...

Restoration Hardware!

How about THIS for a Holiday stocking stuffer gift?

We received our 2015 Restoration Hardware Holiday Catalog in early November.  Take a look at what this San Francisco Bay area retailer included as a stocking stuffer gift for the grill enthusiast:  A meat tenderizer modeled after brass knuckles!

Here is a page from the Restoration Hardware website a couple days after we received the catalog.


Does Restoration Hardware not realize that brass knuckles are illegal in many states, including California, where possessing brass knuckles is subject to felony prosecution?  Yeah, no wonder this item is no longer available!

Me thinks Restoration Hardware has some 'splaining to do.

Mary Rae Fouts

November 27, 2015

Thinking about Year End Charitable Giving?

Where has the year gone to?  The end of 2015 will soon arrive; many of my financial planning and tax clients are thinking about year end charitable giving.  Also, many charities are soliciting donations, as my mailbox and telephone will tell you.

Which brings up an important question:

Is the organization you intend to donate to really a charity?

This year a new tax client came to me for tax planning and preparation of individual income tax returns.  While looking over the client's prior year tax returns, I noticed several thousand dollars of tax deducted charitable donations I thought questionable.  Upon discussing my concerns with the client, I learned they had made donations to a Go Fund Me campaign initiated for private individuals.  Since the campaign was soliciting "donations", my client automatically assumed the donations were charitable, and therefore available for tax deduction.

Wrong.  The private individuals soliciting the donations were not non-profit entities, therefore the donations were not charitable and not tax deductible.  I prepared amended tax returns to correct the error.


A simple bouquet of my gardens' autumn flowers and basil.

Word to the Wise

Before making a donation you assume to be charitable, make sure the entity you are donating to is truly a non-profit organization.  A non-profit's financials and tax returns are open to the public.  If you know where the non-profit is located, you can check with the respective State Government office (in California, the Secretary of State) to see if the organization is an active non-profit.

A little bit of research can prevent hassle and headache down the road.  Please contact me if you have questions about this topic or your tax or financial planning matters.  Complimentary initial consultations. For information about my Consulting, Expert Witness, and Tax Services visit Fouts Financial Group.

Mary Rae Fouts