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Examiner
  • Jeff Fox: Planet Fitness coming to Independence

  • Planet Fitness continues is expansion in the area. The company opened at U.S. 40 and Missouri 7, near the Blue Springs Hy-Vee, several weeks ago.



    Now it’s coming to Independence – also next to a Hy-Vee – in the old Ace Hardware spot at U.S. 40 and Noland Road.

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  • Planet Fitness continues is expansion in the area. The company opened at U.S. 40 and Missouri 7, near the Blue Springs Hy-Vee, several weeks ago.
    Now it’s coming to Independence – also next to a Hy-Vee – in the old Ace Hardware spot at U.S. 40 and Noland Road.
    “That’s going to take place in mid-March,” says regional manager Tiernie Darr. The company, which at the end of 2012 opened its 600th facility nationwide, also has a site at 8720 E. 63rd St. in Kansas City. Eventually the group with those three sites would like to have 13 in Jackson, Clay and Cass counties.
    She said the Blue Springs community has been welcoming and the location, at one of the busiest intersections in the area, is attractive.
    “It is a very busy place; therefore it is easy no matter where you’re coming from,” she said.
    A basic $10-a-month membership means someone will greet you at the door, and someone will show you how to use the equipment. There are fitness trainers. The idea is to avoid the intimidation that a first-time visitor to a gym might feel.
    “We are different from most other gyms,” Darr said. “We are known as the judgment-free zone, and the focus is on general health.”
    Tax changes for 2013
    “The good news is we didn’t fall off the fiscal cliff,” said CPA Kim Davis-Rice.
    Davis-Rice, with Rebecca J. Floyd-Mountaine & Co. in Grain Valley, was the speaker at Tuesday’s Grain Valley Chamber of Commerce monthly luncheon.
    She touched on the high points of the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, the bill that reset some tax rates and got Congress past its latest fiscal crisis. Those highlights include:
    n Bush-era income tax rates are locked in for those making less than $400,000 (or $450,000 for couples filing jointly).
    n The employee’s share of the payroll tax for Social Security goes back to 6.2 percent after a three-year drop to 4.2 percent – an attempt at economic stimulus by putting a little more money in consumers’ pockets and therefore back into the economy.
    “So our payroll tax holiday is no more,” Davis-Rice said.
    n Capital gains taxes go up for high earners.
    n The IRS rate for mileage is 56.5 cents, up a penny from 2012.
    n The child tax credit stays at $1,000.
    n Congress did finally permanently fix – at least as permanently as Congress does anything – a problem with the alternative minimum tax. It was designed years ago to hit earners paying little or nothing, but Congress didn’t index it to inflation. Over time, it bit more and more deeply into the middle class, and Davis-Rice said she’d seen an estimate that for 2013 it would have affected 60 million tax returns.
    Page 2 of 2 - Now it’s recalibrated and tied to inflation.
    “So they’ve saved a lot of people getting hit with this AMT,” she said.
    One more note: Be careful about identity theft, and – especially – guard your Social Security number. If it’s been stolen, contact the IRS. The agency has a process to give you a different number with which to file and to keep an identity thief from using your Social Security for fraudulent tax purposes.
    Jeff Fox is The Examiner’s business editor. Reach him at jeff.fox@examiner.net or 816-350-6313. Follow on Twitter @Jeff_Fox.

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