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Financial Questions and Answers

Q: I am going back to school for an advanced degree. Can I deduct the costs for continuing education?

A: Unfortunately, the deduction for work-related education was among a series of deductions eliminated after the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 was enacted, so you can no longer deduct the costs of continuing education. To help defray costs, you might look into tax-advantaged savings vehicles like the Coverdell Education Savings Account (income limits apply) or a 529 plan. Also find out if your employer reimburses qualified education expenses. They’re typically tax-deductible to the business, but all or a part may be taxable to the employee receiving them.

Q: I own a restaurant and recently served an unruly customer, who then trashed my food and service on social media. How do I prevent this comment from hurting my restaurant’s reputation?

A: With online ratings websites and social media ever-present, many retail businesses depend on good reviews to increase sales. Many of these sites allow owners to respond to reviews. The best way to deal with a bad one is head-on. Acknowledge the bad review, apologize if warranted and consider offering a discount for a return visit. But don’t fight fire with fire. Your more satisfied customers and potential new ones will recognize your efforts.

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