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Should maternity leave ever constitute a reason to be turned down for a home mortgage?

By: Kenneth R. Harney Home Loans Views: 4223 | Comments: 0 | Votes: 0

Kenneth R. Harney

You might think not, but two new legal actions by federal fair lending regulators suggest the mortgage industry — and even federally run financing giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — may need to address the issue. In one case, a Seattle physician settled a discrimination complaint with Cornerstone Mortgage Co., a national mortgage banking firm based in Houston. . . Kenneth R. More

Commuter Spending Accounts

By: On My Own Two Feet Personal Finance Views: 3708 | Comments: 0 | Votes: 0

On My Own Two Feet

Recently a friend emailed me a photo from a gas station. It showed a $100 price tag for filling up the tank on his 2004, fully-paid-for SUV. The message said:  “Holy Cow – I have never seen a bill like this before.” Welcome to the new normal in transportation. So what can you do to help ease the financial pain? Last but not least—let’s talk bottom line. More

Proposed new mortgage rules may spell trouble for homebuyers

By: Kenneth R. Harney Home Loans Views: 4423 | Comments: 0 | Votes: 0

Kenneth R. Harney

You may have seen reports that the federal government is proposing new mortgage-finance rules under which only home purchasers who can afford a minimum 20 percent down payment on a conventional loan would get a shot at the best available interest rates and terms. Freddie Mac, for example, has an overall debt-ratio limit of 45 percent of an applicant's stable monthly income. Tough. More

Conduct Your Own Energy Audit And Save

By: Delta Grant Personal Finance Views: 7964 | Comments: 0 | Votes: 0

Delta Grant

An energy audit is an overview of the current energy use of a building, home or business with the intention to remove any inefficiency without impacting upon comfort or productivity. This serves two functions. At this point preliminary energy conservation measures and energy conservation opportunities can be drawn up. More

Why It's Worth Paying for a Tax Pro

By: File Your Taxes Online Tax Planning Views: 3873 | Comments: 0 | Votes: 0

File Your Taxes Online

To save money last year, Anthony Fasano tried preparing his new business's first tax return on his own. Then reality sank in. "I realized I really had no understanding of the tax laws from a business standpoint," says Mr. Fasano, founder of Powerful Purpose Associates, an executive-coaching company he runs out of his home in Ridgewood, N.J. "I was just winging it." Mr. Fasano. Hall. Ms. More

Is Your Social Security Taxable?

By: Tax Advisors Tax Planning Views: 4148 | Comments: 0 | Votes: 1

Tax Advisors

Social Security benefits are taxed depending on your total income from all sources. Here is how to calculate how much of your Social Security benefits is taxable.   Provisional Income   Provisional income is your total worldwide income, including tax-exempt income, plus half of your Social Security benefits. 2. 3. 4. More

New FHA rules deadlines may jeopardize condo mortgages

By: Kenneth R. Harney Home Loans Views: 4189 | Comments: 0 | Votes: 0

Kenneth R. Harney

Tens of thousands of condominium unit owners around the country may not know it, but their ability to sell or refinance could be jeopardized by a rolling series of federal government deadlines. Beginning next spring, another 23,000 projects - with residential units totaling into the estimated hundreds of thousands - could lose their eligibility as well. The deadline was Tuesday. More

Affordable Health Care Reform Act

By: John A. Beyer, CLU Insurance Views: 2811 | Comments: 0 | Votes: 0

John A. Beyer, CLU

It is interesting that the title to this act in no way will effect the cost of health care in the U.S. Employer-Sponsored Insurance Costs Rise in California, Across U.S. For the report, Mercer surveyed 2,836 public and private employers with 10 or more employees. Report Details.  The survey found that the average PPO deductible increased to $1,200 this year. More

Google takes advantage of Irish tax law to cut its tax bill by billions

By: Academix Tax Planning Views: 8524 | Comments: 0 | Votes: 0

Academix

Google Inc. cut its taxes by $3.1-billion in the past three years using a technique that moves most of its foreign profits through Ireland and the Netherlands to Bermuda. Google's income shifting -- involving strategies known to lawyers as the "Double Irish" and the "Dutch Sandwich" -- helped reduce its overseas tax rate to 2.4%, the lowest of the top five U.S. Treasury Department. Ms. More

Investors might face higher taxes on dividends next year

By: Tax Advisors Tax Planning Views: 4137 | Comments: 0 | Votes: 1

Tax Advisors

If the tax cuts are allowed to expire at the end of the year, stock dividends will be subject to a much higher tax. Right now, the tax on stock dividends typically is a maximum 15%. But if the Bush tax cuts expire and we revert to previous levels, dividends would be subject to an income-tax rate of as much as 39.6%. More