Consulting tips

Secrets of the secret classes

Dusk, Dawn, and Mech are the three “Secret Classes” in Axie Infinity. Secret class Axies are hard to breed, and there are no secret class cards. This is a disadvantage because when an Axie uses a card from its own class, it gets an extra 10% attack and shield bonus. But wait, that just means secret classes are considerably weaker compared to the others with class bonuses right? Yes and no. Secret class Axie can still benefit from class advantage and card bonus, but only at 7.5%. This might be good for niche, balanced cross-class builds depending on playstyle preference. In terms of class advantage, secret classes share the same advantages and disadvantages as the classes they enjoy the card bonus from. For example, Dusk which gains a 7.5% class bonus from playing Reptile and Plant cards, also gains additional 15% damage against Aquas Birds and Dawns - just as Reptiles and Plants would. Also, there are rumors brewing that Mech, Dusk, and Dawn classes might be getting their own moves in the future, but it is still not known when or what those will be yet.

Penalties for late or non-payment

No one likes to pay taxes. Even so, the IRS can penalize you if you don’t file quarterly taxes. The penalty for non-payment can be as much as 5% for every month the payment is late, but it cannot exceed 25% of the total payment due. If payments are more than 60 days late, the IRS will assess a $100 penalty. Penalties can also be applied for underpayment of estimated taxes. Fortunately, QuickBooks Self-Employed can manage your deductions and calculate quarterly tax payments. Mistakes can lead to steep fines and possibly an IRS audit. And even if you try to avoid common mistakes, you could still trigger an audit. The truth is, the IRS uses your taxpayer identification number and mathematical formulas to select individuals from all groups, which means that everyone has a chance of being selected for an audit. It’s the IRS’s way of keeping people honest. Think of it this way: If the IRS only looked at people who made more than $5,000 in net earnings, then some taxpayers might change their books to look like they made less than $5,000. So everyone qualifies for an audit regardless of their earnings. That being said, there are a few steps you can take to lessen your chances of an audit. Here are four tips to keep your taxes on the up-and-up and keep the IRS off your back.

Add Pages Inside Sections

Strangely, OneNote calls notes pages. Pages live inside sections. Let’s say you have a notebook called Home, and one of the sections is Entertainment. You could have separate pages where you keep lists of movies, games, and books you want to check out. Students can create a page for every class session. During class, take notes on that page, and you’ll always know where to find them.

Paying quarterly taxes

For the self-employed, federal income taxes are generally paid on a quarterly basis by a specified due date. If you’re not having taxes withheld by an employer, the burden is on you to pay estimated taxes four times a year at the end of each fiscal quarter. The due dates are April 15, June 17, September 16, and January 15 of the following year. In general, if you expect to owe less than $1,000 in taxes for the year after subtracting federal income tax, you are exempt from quarterly tax payments. Also, if you have federal tax withholdings — perhaps because you also have W-2 income or because one of the companies you contract with takes withholdings — you may be exempt from filing quarterly taxes as long as those federal tax withholdings equal 90% or more of what you’ll owe for the year. However, you are responsible for making quarterly payments if you expect to owe tax of $1,000 or more when you file your return.

Writing off mileage and car expenses

If you’re self-employed, there may be times when you have to use your car for business. Mileage is probably the biggest deduction, but a percentage of the wear and tear on your vehicle from business use can also be deducted in one of two ways.

  • The actual vehicle expenses method: Start by adding up all of your vehicle operating expenses, such as interest on your loan (or cost to lease a vehicle), insurance, gas, repairs, maintenance, etc. Next, divide any miles you drive solely for business by the total miles driven. That percentage becomes your allowable deduction.
  • The simplified method: Apply the current IRS-mandated mileage rate to the total miles driven for business in the year. For tax year 2019, the standard mileage deduction is 58 cents per mile for business use, up from 54.5 cents in 2018. Whichever method you choose, you must keep track of all mileage used for business in a vehicle log. This can be as easy as jotting down miles, dates, and descriptions in a notebook, or you can use software like QuickBooks Self-Employed to keep track of your mileage and avoid any errors.

Writing off personal expenses

It’s generally understood that you can’t deduct expenses that are clearly personal. That said, what are considered personal expenses and business expenses isn’t always clear. For example, if you use your cellphone for both personal and business use, you can’t write off the entire cell phone bill. Instead, you need to prove predominant business use — meaning your cell phone must be used more than 50% of the time for business purposes. Your computer and vehicle fall under the same constraints, meaning you can only deduct the portion that is used exclusively for business. In other words, think twice before writing off the entire cost of your computer unless it’s used solely for work. Writing off partial-personal expenses will require some leg work and good record keeping on your part so you don’t raise any red flags with the IRS. Only take a deduction on your taxes for the portion of personal items that are used exclusively for your business. The IRS allows you some wiggle room here, so just make sure you have a compelling reason for writing off 80% of that cell phone bill.

Not writing off all business expenses

One of the perks to being a self-employed contractor is a bit more leniency in what qualifies as a business expense. For example, a company might pay an independent contractor or an employee for similar work, but as an employee, you typically don’t get to write off your commuting costs. On the other hand, if you’re self-employed and you primarily work from your home office, whenever you spend time driving to and from a client’s office you can write off the mileage as a business expense. You can take the business portion of your actual car expenses — like gas, insurance, registration, repairs, and maintenance — or any public transit expenses if you use local transportation. You can also depreciate most business equipment that has a useful life of more than one year and that you actually use in your business for more than one year. This may include computers, furniture, and machinery. You can take a depreciation expense using Form 4562. As a self-employed contractor, taking all of your business expenses is the easiest way to keep more of your hard earned cash. Not doing so means you’re overpaying hundreds or even thousands of dollars in taxes each year.

Misunderstanding Form 1099

There are a number of different 1099s, and each has specific tax-reporting requirements. You might receive Form 1099-R for distributions from pensions, annuities, retirement, profit-sharing plans, IRAs, insurance contracts, etc. Or you might receive Form 1099-S if you received sales proceeds from a real estate transaction. If you’re self-employed (full-time or part-time) and earned an income but you don’t receive a paper form, maybe because it was lost in the mail or your address is listed incorrectly, you still have to self-report the income on your taxes. Not reporting the income may trigger an audit, which could result in paying back taxes, plus interest and penalties. If you earned $400 or more from self-employment, you have to file an income tax return. If you earned less than $400, you might still have to file an income tax return if you made more income from another source. With the added flexibility of contract work comes added responsibility. If you are a newcomer to the world of contract work, make sure you educate yourself on Form 1099.


I’ve talked about Feedly before, and it’s by far the favorite and most frequented online tool of nearly everyone I meet. The news aggregator allows you to subscribe to websites or RSS feeds and read what gets published on a daily basis. I typically make sure to follow my clients, favorite blogs, and general news sites like The Wall Street Journal and Reuters. This tool is vital for staying up to date on what is happening in the world, in your industry, and with your clients.

SlideShare and Graphic River

Most firms will train you on their unique PowerPoint style and provide you with templates or PowerPoint add-ins to help you, but sometimes you may need some additional inspiration. Slideshare can be a good place to start to see general slide design or find presentations made on specific topics, but I’ll also often browse through Graphic River, which has pre-made PowerPoint templates and layouts for purchase.