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Money (78)

Wednesday, 11 April 2012 16:25

Got student loans? Don't miss this credit

Written by Anne Powelson

Student loans keep showing up in headlines, from the complaints from various 'Occupy' groups to announcements that cumulative student loan debt has reached one trillion dollars. The Institute for College Access & Success estimates that two thirds of graduates have student loans. Maine's class of 2010 carries an average student loan debt of $29,983. All of which makes the Maine Opportunity Credit more attractive than ever.

What is the Maine Opportunity Credit? Maine Opportunity Credit is a credit on your Maine return, reimbursing you for student loan payments made. That's right, reimbursement of the entire student loan payment, not just the interest.

Missing a W-2? The first step is to contact your employer. If contacting your employer proves unsuccessful, AND it is after Feb. 15, then your next step is to contact the IRS at 1-800-829-1040.

When you contact the IRS, you should have the following information available:

Your employer's name, phone number and complete address. If available, the Employer Identification Number is requested (this would be available on prior year W-2 forms, block b).

Your name, address, social security number and telephone number.

An estimate of the wages you earned, the federal income tax withheld and period you worked for the employer. Ideally this would be year to date information from your final pay stub. If that is not available you need a reasonable substitute: an earlier pay stub, records or bank deposits.

Wednesday, 09 November 2011 09:28

Charitable gifts - true or false

Written by Anne Powelson

As Thanksgiving and the winter holidays approach, many set aside a little extra for their favorite charity. So it seemed appropriate to have this month's true or false questions be about charitable giving.

- Rose is 72 and has a traditional IRA. She is required to make a withdrawal (required minimum distribution or RMD) from her IRA each year. In 2011, she can have her RMD sent directly to a charity, and if she does so, it will not be included in her taxable income.

True. In 2011, those over age 70 may transfer up to $100,000 from an IRA directly to a charity. Eligible transfers count against the RMD and are not included in income. This provision has not yet been extended to 2012. 

Wanna hear something crazy? We're not all that rational when making investment decisions. In fact, we tend to fall into 'predictable patterns of destructive behavior' - which sounds pretty ominous, but is backed up by research highlighting some of the most common investor mistakes.

The 'disposition effect,' which sounds simply mesmerizing, comprises seemingly opposite tendencies in investors. But in fact, it stems from an investor's fear of risk.

The first aspect of the effect is that investors sell winning positions too soon. Scientists say that investors do this because they hope to recoup losses elsewhere in their investments by selling winners. The trouble is that those awesome investments often have more winning to do, but individual investors blow it and sell too soon.

Wednesday, 07 September 2011 05:39

The Money Edge - What the heck happened?

Written by Marion Syversen

On Aug. 5, rating service Standard & Poor's lowered the credit rating for U.S debt. In the flurry of summer vacation, market turmoil and your job and family, this may seem like crazy white noise.

Let's break it down into yummy, bite-sized morsels.

What is it? Standard & Poor's (S & P) a credit rating agency, has said we are a higher risk than the AAA rating which had been ours since the rating agency began. The primary factor in determining the rating is the likelihood of default.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011 05:38

The Money Edge - Head of Household - true or false

Written by Anne Powelson

In common parlance, a head of a household is the one making important decisions and holding the family together. Not so when filing taxes. On a tax form, Head of Household (HOH) is just one of five filing statuses. Each filing status has its own requirements.

The HOH filing status dates back at least to 1917. In the instructions for that year, "head of family" is defined as "a person who in accordance with some moral or legal obligation actually supports and maintains one or more individuals closely related to him or her by blood, marriage, or adoption." The definition has been expanded considerably since then.

Currently there are three requirements which must be met for HOH eligibility:

August is second refund time for as many as 200,000 Maine residents. You may be one of them. Eligibility rules include your property tax for 2010 must be more than 4 percent of your income, or your rent more than 20 percent of your income. In addition there is an income requirement; if you are single, your 2010 household income must be below $64,950, or if you are married or have a dependent, your 2010 household income must be below $86,600.

A few quick true/false questions about the program:

Thursday, 26 May 2011 12:49

Last chance to use? Bush edition

Written by

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