Lamborghini Aventador Will Blow Your Mind

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    Admit it. There are times when you wish you could get away from it all by moving to your own private island. Well, some cruise passengers actually can at least for a day. Each of the following cruise lines below offer passengers a day of fun in the sun on their very own private island. For many cruisers, this stop is the highlight of the trip. After all, what could be better than sitting on a white-sand beach, drinking a pia colada and soaking in the rays without crowds?

    “It’s a wonderful destination, we will come back next year for sure!”

    All of these islands have pristine shores, swaying palm trees, aquamarine waters and lots of ocean-side adventure. There usually are fees for shore excursions and equipment rental. Every destination offers something a little different for cruise passengers.

    View of buildings on the coast of tropical island San Andres y Providencia

    Even at first glance, CocoCay looks like the quintessential Caribbean hideaway. There are wide stretches of beach in quiet coves, island huts in bright Caribbean pinks and blues, and a colorful straw market offering Bahamian crafts and goods.

    Many of the island buildings look brand new and they are. In 2002, the company invested more than US$ 21 million to turn this 140-acre (0.5 km) slip of land into a destination their passengers would never forget. Nature trails wind through the isle, which is home to wild chickens, peacocks and occasional iguanas. Those seeking solitude will enjoy the hammocks that are hung under coconut trees in quiet locations.

    English Harbour, Hurricane Hole

    Sea lovers have plenty of activities to choose from. Hop on a jet ski (US $ 95 for 50 minutes) and speed across waters so clear that you can see orange starfish 20 feet below, or don a snorkel mask and explore life under the sea up close.

    For a great view of the island, try your hand at parasailing (US $ 79 per hour). You’ll soar 200-400 feet in the air and maybe even take a cooling dip in the water before returning to the boat. Children will enjoy Caylana’s Castle Cove and SeaTrek Aqua Park (US$ 15 adults, $10 children). Its floating sand castle and aquatic trampolines are just the things for those who are young at heart.

    A staff of 45 people lives on CocoCay, and it’s obvious they take pride in keeping the island’s natural beauty in top condition. Their pampering service makes the island experience so pleasurable that you won’t want to leave when dusk falls all too soon.

    “Disney knows children, so it’s no wonder that they feel at home on Castaway Cay”

    The cruise ship docks right at the island (other cruise ships use tender boats to ferry passengers back and forth), so youngsters can head right down the ship’s ramp and out to explore Castaway Cay. There is a beach just for families, and Scuttle’s Cove is a safe and fun club for children. Parents need some time on their own, so there is Serenity Bay, a secluded beach for adults. For a little pampering, have a relaxing massage in the open-air cabanas at the seaside spa.

    Street in Key West

    Game for a little exploration? Then grab a bike (child seats are available for little ones) and hit the trails (US$ 6 per hour). This is, after all, a secluded island getaway, and there are miles of empty shoreline and tropical forest to explore.

    If you prefer the water, check out the Walking and Kayak Nature Adventure ($60). Participants walk with a guide through the island’s lush fauna and kayak through an ecologically sensitive mangrove environment. If paddling wears you out, just jump in for a refreshing swim in the crystal clear island waters.

    Teens can get into their own adventure on The Wild Side (US$ 35), an excursion that includes snorkeling, biking and kayaking. Families who want to adventure together can try the Seahorse Catamaran Snorkel Adventure (US$ 49 adults, US$ 29 children). This easy 45-minute sail takes you out to calm waters and unspoiled coral reefs. Even younger children will enjoy floating in the turquoise Caribbean Sea with schools of colored fish.

    View of the Caribbean Sea

    Visitors to the tiny islet of Motu Mahana (Polynesian for sunlit island) are greeted with the sounds of Polynesia. Les Gauguines, an eight-woman song and dance troupe, perform beguiling love songs in their Polynesian tongue while guests enjoy a scrumptious feast under the shade of thatched huts. After lunch, guests can relax in the sea or wade for yards in the shallow waters while waiters wearing bathing suits offer tropical drinks to those in need of refreshment. Try out the complimentary water sports like kayaking or snorkeling. For a different experience, board a motorized outrigger canoe and head to the beautiful island lagoon of Tahaa. Tahaa is known for two things: producing vanilla and black pearls.

    Guests can take a four-wheel drive tour into the hills to tour the vanilla plantations (US$ 65) or view French Polynesia’s rare jewel, the black pearl, at the Motu Pearl Farm (US$ 64). From there, head to the lagoon for some quality time with the region’s underwater fauna. There is even a small lagoonarium where rays, turtles, sharks and fish are enclosed in four different pools.

    How to Figure Out What to Claim for Your Home Business Tax Deduction

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    home office

    income taxes

    People thinks when it comes to taxes, paying them for income earned on a home business can be brutal. After all, there is no company there to help you pay your Social Security taxes and your income taxes. The brighter side of life is that paying some expenses related to your home business that you can deduct. The process can be kind of pain, but if you make sure you have all of the proper forms, you can successfully get your deductions figured out and keep more of your money. Keeping a good record of what we must have is when to have them to a tax professional (deductible on your home business records, but not for other income), or purchase some software to help you sort it all out.

    The trickiest part of the business is figuring out the deductions for items you use for both business and personal use. Computers, Internet connection, and cars are all among these tricky issues. You will be required to estimate about how much of the time such items are used for business. This means that you will need to pay close attention to how much of the time your computer is used so that you can pro-rate it correctly. This is usually expressed as a percentage (My computer is used 80% of the time for my home business).

    No Credit Is Given For County Taxes

    Cars are a little easier to figure out when it comes to mileage. There is also a way to calculate monthly car payments into the deduction, based on how much of the time the car is used for business. For mileage, all you have to do is keep track of mileage spent when you are using the car for work. When I have to travel for a freelance assignment, I keep track of my mileage for tax purposes.

    Health insurance can be deducted if you are not getting it through someone else’s company. If you want to deduct a private insurance plan, it needs to be set up for the home business. Since I am a sole proprietor, I set up our plan (about $250 per month) through my name and have my husband and son listed on my plan, since my husband is not offered health insurance through his work. Health insurance can only be deducted if you have it set up through your business.

    If you use a home office, you need to figure out how much of your home’s total square footage is used for work. This is also expressed as a percentage. You divide the square footage in your office by the total footage of your home. If you use the home office for other things, however, it can mean that you have to use a formula to figure out how much you can deduct. Even if you pay rent each month, you can claim a percentage of the rent paid for home office space. Utilities, interest, maintenance, and other home-related expenses can be deducted using this formula as well.

    home office

    Other items purchased for the business can be deducted. A desk for the home office, or a headset for the office phone count as business expenses. Just make sure that you buy them for your business, and do not use them for other things. Otherwise, you will have to figure a percentage of use and deduct based on that.

    Finally, if you are reimbursed for expenses paid, you cannot claim them. Many of my freelance assignments that include travel reimburse me for food and lodging expenses. These cannot be claimed as deductions because I do not experience a net loss through the expense. It is given back to me, so it is as though I never spent the money at all. If you are reimbursed for mileage, you cannot claim that mileage on your taxes, either.