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“Innocent spouse” won’t be disqualified for failing to file within two years

By: File Your Taxes Online Tax Planning Views: 5115 | Comments: 1 | Votes: 0

File Your Taxes Online

The Internal Revenue Service is giving some relief to "innocent spouses" who otherwise may have been liable for a partner's tax debt.   Effective immediately, the agency has eliminated a rule that disqualifies taxpayers from innocent-spouse status if they fail to file for relief within two years -- a provision that snagged people who otherwise qualified, including abused women. More

Lawsuit seeks to break a deep freeze in credit.

By: Kenneth R. Harney Home Loans Views: 3417 | Comments: 0 | Votes: 0

Kenneth R. Harney

Picture this nightmare financial scenario: You've taken out a $150,000 home-equity credit line to remodel your house, you've already pulled out thousands to pay contractors and owe thousands more, when suddenly you get a curt letter from the bank. Effective yesterday, it says, we've shut down access to your credit line. You're in shock. The bank later reinstated the owner's credit line. More

Mortgage Rates Are Low But Rules Are Very Strict

By: Trajce Panov Home Loans Views: 2561 | Comments: 0 | Votes: 0

Trajce Panov

With interest rates near rock bottom and home prices down, this ought to be a great time to buy a home. But for most people, it's a lousy time to get a mortgage. Years after the collapse of the real-estate market and resulting financial crisis, it takes nearly pristine credit scores and hefty down payments to get the best rates. In the process, they shape how much it costs to borrow. More

35-year-old "temporary" unemployment tax has finally ended

By: Nole Fan Tax Planning Views: 3257 | Comments: 0 | Votes: 0

Nole Fan

Virtually every private employer in the United States will get a tax cut today. It will not affect workers’ paychecks. But the expiration of a 35-year-old temporary unemployment tax - about $14 a year per worker - will mean real money for some big companies at a time when President Obama is pushing Congress to raise taxes on some businesses by closing loopholes. More

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

By: Kenneth R. Harney Home Loans Views: 4325 | 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: 3807 | 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: 4492 | 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: 8054 | 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: 3964 | 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: 4224 | 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