Writing Tax into a Notebook

Ten Ways You Are Accidentally Committing Tax Fraud

More often than not, a lot of people commit tax fraud without even realizing it.

The tax laws change every year, and if you are not familiar with it or keep yourself updated, you just might be a victim eventually.

Usually, these mistakes happen due to negligence than ill intent, and it is advisable always to cross-check your return before you file your taxes, to ensure that what you are doing is legal and you are not accidentally committing a fraud.

Whether deliberate or a simple mistake, tax fraud attracts grievous repercussions from the IRS, so you might want to take a second look at your account.

What is Tax Fraud?

According to the IRS, Tax Fraud is “intentional wrongdoing on the part of a taxpayer with the specific purpose of evading a tax known or believed to be owing.”

An individual or business entity that falsifies information to limit the amount of tax could be arrested for committing tax fraud. This could cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars and years in jail.

To avoid finding yourself in this fix, here are ten ways to know if you are accidentally committing tax fraud.

1. Putting the wrong information

Putting the wrong information on your account could cause a serious problem later. Often times, people forget to fill a part of the return or fill it incorrectly.

This includes omitting or incorrectly entering essential data like Social-Security-number or recording your deductions in the wrong column.

Even if it were a mistake, it could be seen as an act of deliberation to attempt tax fraud.

To avoid putting wrong information, simply implement a tax preparation software that won’t allow you to submit your forms without entering vital data.

You could also hire professional tax preparers who are more familiar with it.

2. Inaccurately demanding the acquired income tax credit

The income tax credit is for low to moderate earners, as it helps them ease the load of Social Security taxes.

To qualify, you must meet certain criteria, which changes often and must be reviewed to avoid claiming it incorrectly.

You could be eligible with the previous year’s criteria but no longer eligible with the updated criteria.

So, it is important that you do not rely on an outdated rule, as it could draw the attention of the IRS.

3. Math errors

One or more math errors in your tax return could affect your overall calculations and result in an incorrect sum of the tax you owe.

This could suggest tax fraud to the IRS, and you are not safe.

To avoid this, always double check every figure before you include it in your tax return to avoid miscalculating your total income and changing your actual liability.

If it is a one-time thing, it could be dismissed as an error, but there will be suspicions if the same mistake keeps recurring.

Implementing tax software will help reduce the risk of math errors by pointing out the inconsistencies in your calculation.

4. Tax shelters abuse

While tax shelters could help minimize your taxes, they could also be abused, which could be accounted for as tax fraud.

Too-good-to-be-true tax shelters often deceive many taxpayers looking out for tax shelters from wealth planners and accountants.

Some of these tax shelters often do not correlate with the financial status of the taxpayer, which could result in accidentally committing tax fraud.

To avoid this, always avoid tax shelters that do not match your financial needs.

The IRS releases a “Dirty Dozen” list of tax scams yearly to help keep taxpayers in check when settling for a tax shelter.

If you are not careful, you might end up spending more to cover up for back taxes, interest, and penalties, in the bid to avoid or minimize your tax.

It could also cost you a fine and a jail sentence if it is recorded as tax fraud or avoidance. Debt freedom relief management could be a good option to eliminate tax debt.

5. Improper form

The effect of double-checking your form before sending cannot be overemphasized, as it could save you time, effort and money.

It is possible that you picked the wrong 1040 form while in a rush, and this could affect your entire tax return details.

Always check the form before you fill it.

And if it turns out that you picked the wrong form, you will have to file an amended tax return, which must be mailed directly to the IRS or to any direct address suggested by the IRS.

6. Claiming the wrong deductions

Before you deduct an expense, ensure it is necessary.

This is especially for small business owners or self-employed persons who are allowed to deduct business expenses where necessary.

In a bid to deduct expenses, it could be tricky to deduct random expenses that aren’t business related.

Examples include vacation expenses or home groceries.

If you are caught, you could be imprisoned for 3 years, with a fine of $100,000.

Using the tax prep software could help prevent this by showing you the necessary deductions. Also, understand the rules and be honest.

7. Taking inflated tax deductions

The IRS frowns at taking inflated tax deductions.

While it is understandable that you need to cut your taxes as much as you can, it is also vital that you do not make them up or artificially enhance the one you have.

Before you claim tax deductions, be sure that you are eligible and also, try not to overinflate it.

Don’t falsely claim deductions, expenses or even credits on tax returns.

With the increasingly efficient IRS automated systems, you could be liable to penalties for taking inflated tax deductions.

Some of these penalties include a $5000 fine, 20% of the disallowed amount and 75% of the amount owed in addition to the full income tax owed.

To avoid this, you have to be sincere with the numbers and probably work a payment plan with the IRS on how best you could pay what you owe, if you can’t do it all at once.

8. Unreported income

You might not be able to record all your tips when filling your tax, especially if you do contract or freelance jobs.

However, this doesn’t mean you should be nonchalant about it, as unreported income to the IRS could also be counted as tax fraud.

Although with multiple streams of income, it is easy to hide your income from the government, you are still required to disclose and report every tip, as failure to do so may be building up for impending danger.

An unreported income that is later found could cost you a penalty equivalent to 50% of the taxes you owe in Medicare, Social Security, and Railroad Retirement taxes on unreported income.

It could also cost you $250,000 fine and about 5 years in prison.

This can be avoided by keeping an updated record of all tip income received and report them.

9. Victim of fraudulent by the tax preparer

While a tax preparer is meant to be a professional to help with your tax returns, you could easily fall into the trap of tax preparer fraud.

Since they will be helping with the calculating, filing and signing of your tax return, they will have access to your personal financial details, which is a very crucial aspect of your life and/or business.

This is the first important reason why you should choose yours wisely if you are looking to hire one.

Although many of them are professionals and will handle your tax return in the best way, getting into the wrong hands could get you into trouble.

A fraudulent tax preparer will likely dupe you into committing tax fraud, without you realizing.

The penalty for this often falls back on the tax preparer, but you could also be a victim if you were found to be involved in the scamming process.

This can be avoided by hiring a professional, which can be vetted online via the IRS Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers by using the details of his credentials.

10. The bottom line

Errors happen all the time, but they can be avoided by simply double checking.

And if you ever fill the wrong form, you will have to file an amended tax return or get reviewed by an IRS.

The good news, however, is that the IRS takes into account possible mistakes that could happen while filing the tax return.

These accidental mistakes are not outrightly considered as a fraud; the IRS has to carefully review the case before drawing a conclusion if it should be charged as tax fraud or identified as an accidental mistake.

The tax preparer software is available on the IRS website for free, to help you file your tax return properly, with little or no mistakes in the process.

This could save you a lot of future hassles.


Being charged for tax fraud will not only cost you time, effort and money but also your reputation and records with the IRS.

No one ever wants to have an issue with the IRS, as it never turns out pleasant.

Watch out for these common mistakes often made while filing a tax return and ensure you are on track.

Categories: Law
Flag of Spain

Moving to Spain: Your Emigration Essentials

When you are planning on moving to the beautiful country of Spain, there will be certain things that you will need to have covered to make your emigration that much easier.

Choosing to emigrate to this attractive southern European country is a decision many more citizens of the UK are doing and this guide will fill you on how to enjoy your stay.

Find out what you need to know ahead of time with this special checklist as listed below.

Getting Your Affairs in Order

Before you make the move you will want to have your affairs in order before you relocate.

This means being aware of bills, expenses and other ties that need to be severed before your leave your home country.

Things like utility bills such as gas and electric, internet and phone contracts, insurance plans as well as taxes will need to be addressed and dealt with.

You will need to have these aspects of your life properly managed.

You do not want to be in a predicament where you are paying for bills or other costs that you no longer use or need as a future citizen of Spain.

Young Couple Moving Home

Packing the Essentials

Other tips include packing light and doing what you can to lower shipping costs.

Speak to a specialist company that deals in removals to Spain.

They can get your effects transferred quickly and easily, and understand the local bureaucracy to speed up the process.

Many people will want to transport all their belongings but these can be sold or given away to make the transition that much easier.

Another suggestion is to have your pets micro chipped before you move.

In Spain, it is necessary to have your furry friend microchipped.

Other rules apply for exotic animals but take this into note to prevent problems like having your animal go through a quarantine process.

After You Arrive In Spain

The very first important thing you will need is getting yourself a non-native identity number which is also referred to as a NIE number.

This is important because you will need it for health care, your financial affairs and other civic things.

It is intelligent to have this taken care of before you move and you can download the form and have it filled within the Spanish consulate of your home country.

You also have the option to have a solicitor submit this form for you and you will have to give them permission to do so.

Have this done immediately to ensure health services and other needs.

A document you will also need is a “certificate of registration” or ìCertificado de Empadronamientoî.

This needs to be completed within 3 months of moving to Spain and it is documentation you can get registered at your local Spanish town hall.

Typically you will be issued the document right then and there that day.

New House Key

Know the Spanish Healthcare System

The healthcare system is much like the system that is used within the UK in which people who work and make payments to the social security system are given access to state health care.

Luckily there is no costs other then the price of medicine.

There is a percentage chart that you have to pay based on income, age and other factors.

It should be noted that if you live primarily in the UK and live in a short term basis in Spain then you will have the option of using your EHIC card for health care.

Getting a Bank Account

When you need to open a banking account you will need your NIE number and a passport, proof of address and with some banks, proof of employment.

You will need to do this in person but some banks offer on line registration to begin the process of opening an account.

A piece of advice is to shop around for a bank that offers cash withdrawals and truly offers your requirements with as few charges as possible.

Spain has rather high charges for things like ATM transactions so be aware of your bank and their policies.

Driving in Spain

Lastly as a resident of Spain you will need to have a Spanish driving license.

It is required under law and there are required medical checks and the license itself must be renewed every 10 years.

After the age of 65 years old then your license must be renewed every 5 years.

If you have a EU license you will need to renew it within the first two years you have been a citizen of Spain which will then change it into a Spanish license.

Follow these tips above and your relocation to Spain will be much easier and will free up your time to focus on this beautiful country.

When these items are taken care of before hand and after moving to Spain will be better with less stress and more enjoyment.

HMRC Self Assessment Tax Form

How to file your UK tax return with ease

Understanding HMRC’s Self-Assessment System

If you have not filed your tax return yet do not feel bad as this article will help you understand the commonalities of how to file your UK tax return correctly.

We aim to enlighten you and dispel myths and other misinformation which may be holding you back from accomplishing knowing how to file your UK tax return correctly.

We will do our best to cover all the different angles necessary.

As you may or may not know you are required to file your taxes by January 31st of this year.

If you miss this deadline you can possibly face a £100 fine and you may face even more penalties if you are extremely late.

There are two options for filing your tax return with the online version and the paper format.

Both are essential and we will show you how to get it done properly as you continue reading below.

HMRC Payment Deadline Letter
Filing a tax return late can lead to a fine. Image credit: Channel 4

Who Needs to File a Tax Return?

You will need to fill out a tax return if you are self-employed have a job or do any type of freelance or casual work.

All income that you earn through the year has the potential of being taxable.

You will have to fill out a tax return if you have £2,500 or more in untaxed income from things like property, investments or savings.

Secondly, you will have to file a tax return if your investment or savings income was £10,000 before tax.

Also if your income was more then a £100,000 or if you made a profit from selling a rental property then you will be required to pay a capital gains tax.

This report is designed to offer tips and suggestions and for further requirements we recommend you visit the official HMRC website to get all the exact details.

Get All Necessary Documents Together

The very next thing you will need to do is get a hold of your bank statements, household bills, invoices, a copy of your P60 as well as your P11D.

If you don’t have access to either of these forms then be sure to contact the payroll office of where you work for the required paperwork to get your taxes done.

If you have never filed your taxes you will need to register as a new user at the HMRC online services website.

You will need your 10 digits unique taxpayer reference number.

Next, you will be given a unique user identification that you will need to hold on too for future use.

You will receive an activation code when you signup.

Once you have received it you can log into the HMRC Self Assessment portion of their website.

If you have already signed up for self-assessment online then you don’t have to go through signing up and activating your account again.

You will just need to use your user identification as well as password.

If your tax affairs are marked as “relatively straightforward” then the HMRC will take you out of the self-assessment tool.

If this applies to you the HMRC will send you a letter stating you no longer have to fill out a form for taxes.

Some people would like to know how to file your UK tax return correctly in a way that will reduce the overall bill.

Always Claim Expenses

One method for lowering your bill is by claiming expenses.

If you are a home-based business owner you can claim a percentage of your heating, electricity, internet and telephone bills.

You can even claim a portion of your mortgage or rent, insurance and even charges from the bank.

You can also do such things as claiming expenses associated with your business such as new computers, vehicles used in business, the costs of petrol as well as car repairs.

However, you cannot claim these expenses if you are working at home for a full-time employer.

If you worked offshore on a cruise ship, yacht or seaborne vessel outside of UK waters for a considerable length of time, the you may be able to claim Seafarers Earnings Deduction.

The rules surrounding this exemption are complex so you are advised to consult seafarers tax accountants for help and guidance.

This isn’t all the information you need to know about on how to file your UK tax return correctly.

We highly recommend that you visit and review the helpful HMRC website or you can always call their self-assessment helpline.

The phone number is active from Monday to Saturday and the phone number is 0300 200 3310.

They are there to help you and answer any questions that you may have about filing your taxes.

Sometimes it may take a little while to reach a live operator on the helpline but it is worth it if you need help.

Ultimately filing your taxes on time is the best option available as you will not have to spend money on any penalties or fines.

Be sure to file on time!

Article Sources

The author wishes to acknowledge the following external sites for use of text, images and reference material:

Freestanding Wooden Carport

Top Benefits of Installing a Timber Carport

Protect Your Vehicles All Year with a Bespoke Wooden Carport

Today we would like to address benefit homeowners can take advantage of when it comes to protecting their vehicles from their elements.

The option we speak of today is the modern carport.

It is an easy solution that is a great alternative to a garage.

They are simply built and are an excellent option when your home does not have a lot of extra space.

Add Value to Your Home

It is interesting that there are a few things that people can easily do to change their home to make it better and improve it which actually goes unnoticed on a conscious level.

Some things have a greater impact on the subconscious and a carport is just the thing that will add that subtle benefit to your home.

The great thing about a carport is that you can use them for cars, boats, tractors, trucks, RV’s, trailers, motorcycles and other such things.

They also a wide variety of benefits that will make you want to purchase one of these right away.

Below we will list the 10 ways you can benefit from having carport installed in your home.

Lean-To Timber Carport
A Typical Lean-To Timber Carport Style. Image credit: Pinterest

The first benefit of installing a simple timber framed carport is that it provides your car a protective cover for any damages caused by the weather.

You won’t have to worry about fading paint, hailstone damages, or problems related to turbulent weather.

The second benefit you will notice is the additional space that a carport offers.

You can always use your carport in warmer weather and use it for an area to relax outside for family barbecue get-togethers.

The third benefit of a carport is that it protects your vehicle from any possible theft or vandalism.

Your car will be visible which means that you can keep an eye on it at all hours to prevent any problems.

The fourth benefit is that a carport can be used for any type of vehicle and you are not restricted to just cars.

All forms of a vehicle can be easily shielded and protected from the elements using a carport including motorcycles, boats, and RVs.

The fifth benefit of a carport is its ease of use.

Since it is basically a canopy like structure, it does not have doors.

Convenient & Easy to Install

When your hands are full with groceries you will not have the problems associated with having to open doors.

You save yourself a real struggle while still being protected from the elements when you are leaving your vehicle.

Another feature of a carport is that they are an energy efficient storage method.

A carport eliminates the need for electric doors and other features like lighting that take energy and electrical wiring.

With a canopy, you save yourself in your homes electrical usage which is an added benefit.

Another great element of a canopy is that in the summertime they are an option for being able to enjoy the beauty of the summer but also gives you shade with a lower temperature.

Pressure Treated Timbers
Wooden Carports Are Constructed Only Using Pressure Treated Timbers. Image credit: Eugene Forest Products

Bespoke wooden carports are built from high-quality pressure treated timbers and polycarbonate or traditional tiles are typically used for the roofing.

Carports have a sleek and minimalist design and can easily be customised to match the colours of your home.

Lastly, you can position your carport to your home’s side so you don’t have to worry about pulling too close to your house.

You can have it installed so you can be covered by the roof as you enter and exit your vehicle.

Outdoor carports are simple and flexible shelters that you can enjoy with your friends and family.

A carport is a great addition to your home and you will have to make specific decisions based on the factors that will ensure a greater user experience as an addition to your home.

When the right carport is chosen, you will be sure that you, your family and friends will be safe and enjoy the great outdoors in full comfort.

It is a good idea to look online to see the different measurements of each carport model that is available to make sure that it will fit your given space that is available.

You may have limited space and by getting a carport that is too big could be a real problem.

Also look into the different styles of a canopy that are addressed to your specific needs.

Every person is unique and a carport can really be used as an addition to your home for a wide variety of uses.

External Resources

We would like to credit the following sites for use of material including but not limited to images, text and knowledge references:

Selection of Modern Kitchen Handles

How to give your kitchen a facelift by changing the handles and hardware

There is no need to replace your whole kitchen to give it a facelift.

Simple and rather effortless replacements can still make a huge difference to its look.

One of these things is to change the handles and hardware.

Besides it is evidently more affordable too.

You could also spray paint the cabinets, and/or opt for worktop overlays too.

All of these will make your kitchen look much different, at a fraction of the cost.

Modern Chrome Kitchen Bar Handles
Modern Kitchen Door Handles. Image credit: The Golden Bird

First off, one of the things that are mostly subjected to wear and tear are the hardware, the handles, knobs and pulls.

Older designs can also date very quickly too! Just imagine how many times you opened and closed the doors and drawers.

No wonder that they appear worse for wear.

Besides there are so many different styles to choose from nowadays, that the sky’s the limit when it comes to replacing handles and knobs.

There are lots of different styles, finishes, shapes and colours to choose from, so you may wish to take into account your personal preferences so as to narrow down the choices a bit.

It will also depend on the style of your kitchen.

The more modern a kitchen is, the more room for originality there is going to be, both in terms of orientation, as well as angles.

However, do bear in mind that if you are going to install the handles in a rather untraditional manner, you may need to touch up the doors or drawers so hide where the previous handles were.

Nowadays bar pulls are among the most popular choices when it comes to handles for modern and contemporary kitchens.

These tend to be really long and wide, and definitely much more sturdy.

Bolts and knobs may sometimes be preferred to handles, especially in vintage kitchens or for those who prefer minimalist designs, but you will need to take into account the width of the drawer or the length of the door, so as to see if they are feasible enough when it comes to opening and closing easily.

Huge Selection of Modern & Vintage Kitchen Handles
Traditional Kitchen Handles. Image credit: Pinterest

When it comes to replacing the kitchen hardware make sure that you buy ones of the same size.

In that way you will avoid the problem of having any parts not being properly covered up, leading to the need to retouch your cabinets unnecessarily.

The spacing of the screws and the hinge overlay, will need to be taken into account when buying the new hardware.

This will make things much easier when it comes to installing them.

So make sure to remove all of the parts and to take them with you when going shopping for new hardware.

To remove the old hardware all you will need is a screwdriver, or a cordless drill to make the job even faster.

So remove the door or drawer, and then unscrew the hinges and the handle.

It is a good idea to buy some extra handles just in case.

Then, simply start to screw the new hardware to each cabinet door and drawer.

Rehang them by screwing the hinges to the frame of the cabinets, and that is about it!

You will be amazed at how much difference those little new handles make to give you the ultimate in low-budget kitchen makeovers.

External Resources Used

The editor would like to personally thank the following websites for using their material in the creation of this blog post:

Hammer of Justice

How to Choose the Right Personal Injury Lawyer

Get legal compensation with the best solicitors

Getting the advice and legal assistance of a lawyer is something that most of us cannot do without at some point in their lives.

Be it because of marital problems, child custody, or accidents, there are a myriad of situations which call for the legal advice of a solicitor.

However, not all lawyers are going to be specialized in offering legal assistance in any and every case.

Most lawyers prefer to specialize in a limited number of areas, or in just one field only.

They do this in order to be able to dedicate themselves more specifically to that legal field, and be of expert guidance to their clients.

So, if you have been a victim of some form of personal injury, it is imperative that you look for a personal injury lawyer, who would be specialized in this particular legal field.

Cutting Up Marriage Certificate

Finding a Suitable Lawyer

Choosing a good personal injury lawyer is very important if you want to make sure that the outcome of your case is according to your wishes.

Let us discuss some things you should bear in mind when looking for a personal injury lawyer.

First of all, as a victim of a personal injury, your first thought will be that you need to get what is owed to you as a form of compensation for the injury or injuries that you suffered.

Therefore, you are going to have certain expectations which will revolve around the need and the wish of getting what is owed to you in one form or another.

This could be financial compensation, or payment of medical expenses for example.

Therefore you need the assistance of a personal injury lawyer to help you bring your case against the person/s who are responsible for the injury or injuries that you sustained.

The personal injury lawyer will also be defending you if you are the one against whom someone else is claiming that he or she suffered injuries because of you.

So, either way, you need a lawyer who has considerable experience in this field.

The personal injury lawyer will be aware that a lawsuit will need to be filed within a certain period of time, and so you need to talk to such a lawyer as soon as possible.

However this should not impede you from taking the time to choose a good lawyer.

Law Books

Choosing the Right Lawyer

You also need to ensure that he/she is a person of integrity, a good communicator, and someone that you feel at ease with.

You will also need to consider the expenses involved as different lawyers charge different rates.

These are some basic things you should bear in mind when looking for a personal injury lawyer.

Having said that, let us now elaborate a bit further on how to arriving to the final choice.

  1. Do some research so as to learn more about different personal injury lawyers, their experience and training. Personal injury lawyers will not only be experienced in the laws which deal with such cases, but they will also have an in depth understanding of medical processes, diagnosis and treatments required for people who have been injured in most common cases such as falls, slips, road accidents, and accidents at the place of work. This is often referred to as tort law, and personal injury lawyers will have an aptitude with negotiation as well as trial experience.
  2. Check what their past clients have to say about previous cases they handled for them. You will be able to get a better idea about different lawyers’ reputations, trial experience and record of cases they won. You could also try asking for personal referrals such as relatives or co-workers who availed of the services of a personal injury lawyer sometime before.
  3. Contact some personal injury lawyers who seem to be experienced and reputable so as to schedule a meeting with them. Meeting in person and discussing your case will give you the best idea of whether a personal injury lawyer is a good choice or not. You will be able to see how he/she intends to handle your case, whether he/she has a timeframe to resolve it, whether a trial will be required, and other key factors. You will also judge whether he/she is a good communicator, and a patient and emphatic person, or whether he/she is just considering you as a number and seems to be constantly busy answering calls even during your consultation.

Your choice of a personal injury lawyers should be based on whether you feel comfortable with him/her as a person, and with the cost structure of whether the lawyer offers a no win no fee arrangement or upfront payment terms.

You will also need to base your decision on his/her experience and credentials, but especially on whether he/she dealt with cases such as yours successfully in the past.

Needless to say each case differs from another, but your chances of getting a good outcome from your case will improve considerably if the personal injury lawyer of your choice is experienced in that particular type of accident and injury.

MDF Sheets in Various Thicknesses

How to build a Plywood or MDF Stepstool

A step stool always comes in handy.

Sometimes you realize you need something to climb on to reach up a bit further, and you find that you do not have a small step stool at hand.

Climbing up on a chair or something unstable is certainly not a good idea.

Getting a ladder every time is very inconvenient, not only because it is bulky, but also because it may not be opened up properly if you need to use it in a restricted area.

So, why don’t you build a step stool yourself so as to find it at your disposal in such cases?

Building a step stool is really quite easy, and you can do it using MDF or plywood.

The construction is fairly simple, and the result will be a lightweight but robust step stool that will be useful in many cases.

Let us discuss how to go about building it.

Wooden Step Stool

Materials Required

You will need to get a plywood board or sheets of MDF.

About a quarter of a full sized sheet should suffice for a step stool.

Try to find a board that is relatively thick, as the thicker it is the sturdier it will be.

Plywood is often found in a 12mm thickness, but in some stores you should also be able to find 18mm thick sheets or even 25mm.

The latter is ideal as your stool will be stronger and it will not run the risk of warping or bending over time.

You will also need a box of self-tapping wood screws.

A screwdriver is a must of course.

A regular one will do the job, but an electric screwdriver is more convenient.

You will also need a jigsaw or a circular saw.

Building the stool

Start off by cutting two L-shaped pieces from the MDF or plywood sheet.

The length and the depth of these pieces should be of approximately 15 inches.

The most important thing is that you stick to the same dimensions on both sides.

To create an L-shape, remove exactly one square quarter of the side.

Afterwards, cut four batons.

These should be of an equal length as they will need to connect both of the L-shaped pieces together.

This will result in the frame of your stool.

Each baton should be about 15 inches long and 2 inches deep.

MDF Letter Shapes
Various Thicknesses of MDF Sheets. Image credit: Woodland Manufacturing

Once you have cut the batons, position them in their respective places and start to attach them.

A combination of wood glue and wood screws is recommended to attach them well.

The screws should be inserted at either end, and go through the sides of the l-shaped pieces.

This is the easiest way to go about it.

However, for those who are more skilled at woodworking, there is also the option of making jig holes, also known as pocket holes in the batons as in this way they will hide the screw heads and you will achieve a neater result.

Now that the basic frame of the stool is assembled, you will need to tackle the top.

Cut your stool’s top with the jigsaw or circular saw.

It is highly recommended that you do not cut it precisely to fit the frame’s opening.

Some overhang is important as apart from providing you with more room where to stand, it will also make the stool more robust.

So, aim for a size that is about 18 inches long and 9 inches deep.

Attach the top to the frame of the stool using screws that run right through the surface of the batons.

If you would like to include a carrying handle for your stool, by cutting it out on the top step of the stool.

This will make your stool look even more professional and also allow you to move it around and store it away more easily.

Last but not least, you will need to cut the bottom sheet of the step stool.

A piece measuring 16 inches by 18 inches should do the trick.

Then trim the edges so as to allow this piece to slide easily and manage to fit it in snugly in the stool’s frame.

It should overhang a bit at the front when you attach it.

The thinner edge of this piece should slide into the back area of the stool’s lower step, and in this way you will be able to attach it with screws and some wood glue.

And that is basically all you need to do to have a finished step stool.

As you can see it is quite easy and it will not require neither skill nor expensive materials.

This is probably one of the simplest DIY woodworking projects you can do, and yet there is no doubt that having a step stool at home or in your garage is really convenient, and quite often, indispensable!

Super Modern Office Boardroom Design

Cat A vs Cat B vs Shell & Core Office Fit-Outs

Commercial Property Construction & Fit-outs

One of the main aspects in commercial property construction is to try to satisfy clients’ wishes.

As a result, once the construction is carried out, we will need to move on to the fit-out phase.

The interior of the building will need to be improved, so that the space is appropriate for occupation, such as to start to accommodate the office workers.

There are various kinds of fit-outs, and for commercial property developers it is important to choose a fit-out that will best serve the needs and wishes of the occupants.

However, the degree of completion of the project will vary from one construction to another, and so will the type of fit-out.

The main types of fit-outs are Shell & Core, Cat A or Cat B. Let us discuss what each of these types of office fit-outs involves in more detail.

Beautiful Lobby Spiral Staircase

Shell & Core Fit-outs

Shell and Core Fit-outs are among the most popular options, especially since there are many who prefer to take care of the design and finishes themselves, or by hiring another specialist company that offer interior design services.

A shell and core fit-out will basically revolve solely around the completion of the outer framework of a building.

This involves completing the most essential parts of a construction project, such as installing basic utilities like toilets, stairwells, and lifts.

Apart from having completed the structure of a building, this involves completing the common areas like the reception or lobby, as well as any external works.

So cladding and base plant are also carried out. Whenever this kind of fit-out is completed, the building is basically in shell form.

So, with this type of office fit-out the building will basically look to be complete from the outside.

But once one steps inside it is practically an open, blank space that still requires a lot of work to be occupied.

Typical Cat A Fit Out

Cat A Fit-outs

A Category A fit-out is often referred to as a basic landlord fit-out.

This is because a Category A fit-out will include some more work on a building’s interior.

So, this will generally include the floor coverings, any raised floors and suspended ceilings, and some generic works on the perimeter walls.

A Category A fit-out will also comprise basic mechanical and electrical services, such as lights, air conditioning and other basic controls.

For those who opt for it basic fire detection and protection systems are also installed during this phase.

Cat B Fit-outs

Category B is considered the most advanced type of fit-out that can be carried out.

All design elements will be agreed upon so as to be installed and completed.

So, this will involve installing any IT and other equipment that will be used by the workers, and even the office furniture. Any doors, partitions and floor finishes will also be completed in a Category B fit-out.

More specialist finishes such as frosted glass, signage, lights and facilities will also be seen to.

Basically the offices will be completed from start to finish with this type of fit-out.

Any branding and finishing touches will be seen to during this type of fit-out.


It is important that one agrees about the specific types of work and jobs to be completed by the company who will be taking care of the construction and the fit-out.

In some cases this will be one company, and in others they may be partners.

Therefore any ambiguity should be clarified by having a contract and all the necessary documentation which clearly established what will be completed and what will not, and who will be responsible for it.

Even though there is a difference between Shell & Core, Cat A and Cat B fit-outs, there may be cases where one developer feels that certain works fall under one type, whereas another will be willing to complete them in another type of fit-out.

This is because these types of fit-outs offer a rather generic idea of what is included and what is not, and there is no standard definition for either of them.

Therefore before starting out on any office refurbishment or relocation, it is important to make sure that both the client and the developer are on the same terms and have agreed on what will be done.

Deciding on the type of fit-out

The difference between these types of fit-outs is all about the degree of completion of the building in question.

The interior specifications matter a great deal as they will have an effect on how nice the interior environment is, which will in turn affect workers’ motivation, maintenance expenses, and the company’s image.

The decision will generally revolve around the costs involved, and how much the occupant trusts the developer to take care of the interior design of the building.

Plumber Repairing a Tap

What is Planned Preventative Maintenance?

Understanding the full scope of PPM for commercial businesses

Sometimes, the integrity of a structure is taken for granted.

Just because of its construction and because a building seems to be okay does not mean that there is no need for regular maintenance.

Planned preventative maintenance needs to be carried out on a regular basis in order to ensure that the integrity and longevity of a structure is maintained and improved.

Staying on top of upkeep is not something that should be considered as an extra burden, but rather it is a way to ensure that any future costly repairs or failures are avoided.

And the larger a building is, the bigger the problems can turn out to be.

So, the bigger the edifice or building is, the bigger the need for preventative maintenance.

Making a plan is highly recommended when a building is large or spread over a substantial area, as there will be various kinds of maintenance works to be carried out in the various areas, rooms and locations.

Let us discuss some of the things that will find their way on a preventative maintenance plan.

Electrical Maintenance Contractor
Many PPM firms use sub-contractors to reduce costs. Image credit: Wise Geek


A building will obviously have a roof, and one can safely state that the roof is ultimately one of the main elements that need to be taken good care of.

Considering the fact that the roof is subject to various weather conditions and other problems, it goes without saying that regular maintenance should be carried out.

Corrective action may be required in various cases, and so it is important to carry out routine inspections at least twice a year.

Should there be any severe storm it is also important to inspect the roof so as to see if there is anything that needs to be seen to.

Carrying out regular maintenance work on the roof will generally involve jobs such as clearing roof drains of debris, examining any sections which were previously repaired, checking roof-to-wall connections, inspecting flashings particularly at curbs and penetrations so as to see if there are any tears or wrinkles, and carrying out re-caulking from time to time.

A moisture survey should be carried out at least every 5 years so as to detect any leaks or wet insulation.

If there are solar panels on the roof, regular checks are imperative so as to see if there are any panels that ended up getting dislodged or with build-up of snow or other debris.

If the building is large and there are various roofs, it may be best to set up a roofing file for each building so as to keep a note of the various works that were carried out on specific dates, as well as set a plan for future regular maintenance works.

HVAC Systems

Heating and cooling equipment are imperative in a building.

Unfortunately a lack of HVAC maintenance leads to inefficiency, higher bills, and poor air quality.

Therefore it is important to include HVAC as part of planned preventative maintenance.

These should be inspected at least twice a year.

Seasonal start-ups and run inspections are important.

There could be small jobs such as missing screws to be replaced, or gasket repairs, or more extensive replacements and repairs to be carried out.

If there are any pumps annual lubrication is recommended.

The cleaning and replacement of air filters should be carried out quite often, generally quarterly.

Burst Water Pipe
Having a regular maintenance schedule in place can prevent unwanted disasters. Image credit: Damazine


Plumbing is one of the main areas to keep under check in planned preventative maintenance.

A seemingly small dripping or leakage problem could end up into a considerable problem if left unattended.

Any leaks or unusual noises should be investigated immediately, and a thorough annual inspection is highly recommended, especially in bathrooms or restrooms.

Water heaters and boilers need to be checked too.


Many commercial establishments place importance on energy savings.

Yet they do not always make it a point to carry out planned preventative maintenance so as to ensure that energy savings and lighting quality are maximized.

Lighting fixtures should be properly maintained.

Lamps may start to fail and so glare baffles, transformers and other accessories should be seen to.

Exterior lights often require more attention than interior ones.

Gaskets may need to be replaced so as to provide a better watertight seal.

Any burned-out lamps will need to be replaced.

A relamping schedule is highly recommended especially in a commercial establishment where there are hundreds or thousands of lights.

Electrical Systems

Having a licensed electrician inspect the electrical systems every couple of years is recommended.

In such a way panel boards, switchgear and connections will be checked and any cleaning and re-torquing can be carried out properly.

Outdoor Flooring

Parking lots and outdoor areas will require coating replacements and power washing from time to time in order to preserve them and maintain them in good condition.

Crack filling and seal coating are some of the regular jobs that will need to be included in planned preventative maintenance.

Sky Q 2TB Set Top Box

Sky Q 2TB Set-Top Box Review

With various set-top boxes on the market, you may easily feel a bit confused as to which one you should choose.

However, once you have read this review on the Sky Q 2TB Set-Top Box, you should be able to make up your mind quite easily.

The Sky Q 2TB Set-Top Box is regarded as one of the best set-top boxes on the market.

As Sky+ has been one of the leading brands in this market for quite some time, one can safely say that the Sky Q 2TB Set-Top Box is an improved version, which couples up all the strong points along with several technical improvements.

In fact the Sky Q 2TB Set-Top Box offers all this, along with streaming as well as a number of offline benefits as well.

Sky Q 2TB Set Top Box Front
Sky Q is a slim and sleek set-top box with tons of modern features. Image credit: Know Your Mobile

Sky Q 2TB Set-Top Box in a nutshell

The Sky Q 2TB Set-Top Box is one of the many boxes in the Sky range.

There is the mini version and the 1TB version too.

Needless to say, the Sky Q 2TB Set-Top Box is the high-end option.

This latest version is a slimmer box, which will take up less physical space.

But, with 2TB of storage it can enable you to watch a show, while recording another four shows simultaneously.

It has in fact a storage for up to 350 hours of HD TV. It can also stream on two televisions or tablets.

User Interface & Features

The user interface is a very important aspect when choosing a set-top box.

With a new EPG and user interface, the Sky Q 2TB Set-Top Box may seem to be a bit strange at first, but once one gets used to it, it is a good interface.

One may search for recordings alphabetically, and view them in visual thumbnails, which is much easier than the traditional long list.

The programme information can be viewed on top, and is accompanied by a live picture of the current show.

There is a new feature named My Q, which allows you to find the last show that was watched, and it can proceed from where you had stopped last time out.

Whatever you started but not finished can be easily found.

There are also programme suggestions available, which is something that many viewers enjoy checking out.

Whenever one pauses, rewinds, or forwards a programme, it is possible to see where you are.

This is a welcome improvement in this newer version.

Sky Q's Electronic Programme Guide
The Sky Q EPG is slick and easy to navigate. Image credit: Engadget

Sky Q Apps

Smart TV features are important for many users and Sky Q set-top boxes come with various useful apps including Sky News, Sky Sports News, Music, Weather and My Photos, to mention a few.

Sky Q Hub

The Sky Q 2TB Set-Top Box will be able to act as a wi-fi hotspot for Sky Broadband customers when used with the Sky Q hub router.

Later, Sky Q will also be working with a powerline network.

The Sky Q Remote Controls

Interestingly, Sky Q set-top boxes come with two remote controls.

Apart from that standard one, there is the Bluetooth Sky Q Touch remote control, which has the main purpose of allowing the user to navigate by means of touch controls, such as by tapping and swiping instead of pushing the buttons.


Prices vary depending on whether one is an existing customer or not.

Existing customers on a multiscreen subscription will need to pay a one-time fee of 99GBP in order to upgrade to Sky Q and to get the 2TB set-top box.

Those who do not have a Sky Multiscreen subscription can get the 2TB box for a 60GBP installation fee.

Alternatively one can get the Sky Q 2TB Set-Top Box without the multiscreen subscription for an installation fee of 199GBP or buy a box from one of the many independent dealers who retail these boxes to allow expatriates to watch Sky Q abroad.


The Sky Q 2TB Set-Top Box is considered to be a TV platform that offers convenience and flexibility.

One can view online and offline and the 2TB box is ideal for those who like to watch several programmes and record others.

The extra storage available in the Sky Q 2TB Set-Top Box is certainly ideal.

There is an extensive range of content available, and the price is quite reasonable.

Obviously the Sky Q 2TB Set-Top Box is the high-end option but considering the fact that it is practically an all-encompassing home entertainment package, it is a very good option for many families and for those who are looking for a system where they can watch whatever they want wherever they are and whenever they feel like it!

In fact one can watch TV abroad in this way, by using a VPN.

It surely cannot get any better because even when you are away from home, you will still be able to watch your favorite shows! So it is literally an anytime, anywhere solution!