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Professor Offers Tips on Saving Money with New Tax Credits and Deductions

Written by Butler University on Thursday, 25 March 2010 10:48.

To save money on your taxes this year, you’ll need to know the new deductions and tax credits included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

“The tax code changes every year,” says Bill Terando, an associate accounting professor at Butler University. “But in light of the recession, the most recent changes seem designed to reduce our taxes so we have more money to spend" — and stimulate the economy. These changes break down to five main areas:

1. Work. In 2009 and 2010, the Making Work Pay provision will provide a refundable tax credit of up to $400 for working individuals and up to $800 for married taxpayers filing joint returns. You qualify if you receive a paycheck and are subject to withholding. Employers will typically handle this through changes in withholding tax tables.

The new law also increased the exclusion for employer-provided transit and parking benefits to $230 per month, respectively. This change went into effect in March 2009, and ran through December 2009. These qualified transportation fringe benefits are excluded from an employee’s income for both income-tax purposes and payroll-tax purposes.

2. Home. Thanks to an extension of the Homebuyer Tax Credit, first-time homebuyers can receive a tax credit of up to $8,000 and repeat homebuyers up to $6,500 if you have a sales contract in place by April 30 and close before July 1.

First-time homebuyers can receive a credit as much as 10 percent of the purchase price, up to $80,000. If you bought a $50,000 house, for example, you would receive a $5,000 tax credit. “The government hopes this will stimulate home sales,” Terando says.

If you make energy-efficient improvements to your existing home in 2009 and 2010, you can receive an Energy Tax Credit up to $1500 for 30 percent of all qualifying improvements.

3. Family. The new law expands the number of families who can benefit from the Child Tax Credit in two ways, Terando says. First, it is a refundable credit which allows taxpayers to receive refunds even when the credit amount is not sufficient to offset current-year taxes due. Second, the new law reduces the minimum earned-income amount used to calculate the additional child tax credit to $3,000 (down from $12,550).

Low to moderate-income families with three or more children can also benefit from an increase in the refundable Earned Income Tax Credit up to $5,657. This credit begins to phase out for married taxpayers filing a joint return with children who have incomes greater than $21,420.

Finally, up to $2400 in Unemployment Benefits received in 2009 is tax free. All benefits received in excess of this amount are taxable. This provision only applies to unemployment benefits received in 2009.

4. Transportation. Anyone who purchased a new car, light truck, motor home or motorcycle from Feb. 17, 2009 to Dec. 31, 2009, can deduct the sales tax paid on the first $49,500 of the cost. The deduction is available to both itemizers and non-itemizers and applies to individuals who make up to $135,000 and married taxpayers filing jointly who make up to $260,000. “You qualify even if you bought the vehicle through the Cash for Clunkers program,” Terando says.

5. Education. The American College Opportunity Tax Credit is designed to lower the high cost of college through a credit of up of $2500 for tuition and required course materials. The latest changes to an existing credit make it available to more taxpayers.

“The income limits are now increased up to $80,000 for individuals and $160,000 for married couples filing jointly,” Terando says. “You can claim the credit for all four years of post-secondary education, rather than two as before. In addition, if the amount of the tax credit is more than your tax liability, the excess credit will be refunded to you up to a maximum of 40 percent of the total tax credit amount.”

Bill Terando, who has a doctoral degree in accounting with a specialization in taxation, joined Butler’s College of Business in 2009. He previously taught at the University of Notre Dame and Iowa State University and worked in public accounting for KPMG Peat Marwick in Sacramento, Cali.

To find other Butler University experts, visit http://www.butler.edu/experts/.

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Black is the New Green: Marketing to Affluent African Americans

Written by BLACK PRWIRE on Monday, 15 March 2010 01:55.

New Book Advises Brands on How to Tap into the Affluent African Americans $87 Billion in Spending Power

Black is the New Green, (www.blackisthenewgreenthebook.com), the exciting new book by Leonard E. Burnett Jr. and Andrea Hoffman (publication date 3/16/10) teaches readers how to best target the $87.3 billion buying power of the affluent African American community, a segment that can no longer be overlooked.

While blue chip brands including Gucci, Sony Electronics and Aston Martin have embraced this rich buying segment, other brands neglect to target this under-appreciated and overlooked demographic, leaving money on the table. Black is the New Green illustrates how to embrace this market, boost bottom line and accomplish this lucrative goal in an affordable, measurable way.

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Band of Sisters Author Kirsten Holmstedt appears at UNC Wilmington

Written by UNCW Women’s Studies & Resource Center on Monday, 15 March 2010 01:29.

They may have left the war, but the war will never leave them . . .

Kirsten Holmstedt, a graduate of the University of North Carolina Wilmington and author of two award-winning books, will speak in the university’s Lumina Theater at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 18. She will be joined by three female Marines who served in Iraq. The event is free and open to the public.

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Research Counters Risky Image of Popular Financial Investments

Written by Virginia Tech (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University) on Friday, 12 March 2010 13:29.

They have been called “financial weapons of mass destruction” and blamed for a number of catastrophic losses and bankruptcies. New research by a finance professor at Virginia Tech’s Pamplin College of Business, however, counters the popular perception of derivatives as dangerous tools and investments.

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Managing Expectations Is Crucial as High Unemployment Persists, Says Expert

Written by University of Alabama at Birmingham on Friday, 12 March 2010 13:26.

Unrealistic expectations amid the country’s continued unemployment struggles are a double-edged sword that can cut equally into the well-being of job seekers and the companies that hire them, says a University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) strategic management expert.

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Investors and Ideas Will Meet at U.Va. Venture Summit

Written by University of Virginia on Friday, 12 March 2010 13:23.

The University of Virginia, which last year hosted a summit that brought together venture capitalists representing nearly $20 billion in active capital funds, will hold its Second Annual Venture Summit on March 25 and 26.

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CFW/DVC Conducts Information Sessions for Grant Applicants

Written by North Carolina Council for Women/Domestic Violence Commission on Sunday, 07 March 2010 22:15.

The N.C. Council for Women/Domestic Violence Commission will present a series of information sessions this month to assist agencies interested in applying for future grant funding. All sessions will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sessions are free and open to the public, but advance registration is requested.

DISPLACED HOMEMAKER/DIVORCE FILING FEE GRANT APPLICATION
Registration for the first session, to be held Thursday at Catawba County Community College in Hickory, has met capacity and is closed. Remaining sessions include:

Date: March 17
Location: Craven Community College, 800 College Court, New Bern. Session will be held in Training Room 102.

Date: March 19
Location: 313 Chapanoake Road, Suite 201, Raleigh. (Look for the “pink” building and enter from the left side of the building.)

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE/MARRIAGE LICENSE FEE AND SEXUAL ASSAULT GRANT APPLICATION

Date: March 24
Location: 313 Chapanoake Road, Suite 201, Raleigh. (Look for the “pink” building and enter from the left side of the building.)

For information, visit the CFW/DVC website <http://www.nccfwdvc.com/> or call 919-733-2455.

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The Trouble with Women’s History Month

Written by Maureen Costello on Friday, 05 March 2010 04:12.

women in U.S. historyThe trouble with Women’s History Month - with all these special months - is that they encourage people to think that problems have been solved. The female heroes of yesterday are acknowledged, the debt paid and the slate wiped clean.

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'Main St.' Economic Conditions Misread by GDP

Written by University of Maryland, College Park on Friday, 26 February 2010 01:01.

Traditional gauges of economic activity severely overstate the standard of living as experienced on Main Street, say University of Maryland researchers, who have worked with their state officials to apply a more accurate and greener index.

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How to Manage Generational Clash in the Workplace

Written by Saint Joseph's University on Friday, 26 February 2010 00:12.

You’re on vacation in the Bahamas and your colleague e-mails you a question about the report she is scheduled to present to the board later that day. With your Blackberry close at hand, you quickly answer her message and get back to your hot rock massage.

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