Tag Archives: Home Ownership
There’s an old saying that home is where the heart is―but it’s also an important economic engine for the country.
Homebuyers are consumers of mortgages; furnishings; appliances; electronics; landscaping materials; and carpentry, electrical and plumbing services.
Of late, that engine has stalled.
As a result, last year the federal government stepped in to help first-time homebuyers purchase houses by offering a homebuyer’s tax credit. Originally set to expire last summer, the credit was extended through November 30, 2009.
This fall, Congress acted to (continue reading…)
Home may be where the heart is, but for a growing number of Americans it’s also the center of business activity.
For home-based business owners, full-time and part-time telecommuters, and busy executives putting in a few extra hours at home, technological advances and a changing financial climate have made work outside of a traditional office environment practical.
If you operate a business from home―or are an employee working from home for the convenience of your employer―you may qualify for a home office (continue reading…)
Sam and Jenna fulfilled a long-standing dream when they built their custom home last year. Unfortunately, it turned into a financial nightmare when their general contractor fled the state without paying various subcontractors and materials suppliers.
The couple then learned that they were legally liable for the money owed to these subcontractors and suppliers, even though they’d already paid their general contractor for the services and supplies!
Nikko saved for a year to replace the roof on his home. When the roofing (continue reading…)
Calling it a “major milestone on our road to recovery,” President Obama signed the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 into law on February 17, 2009.
In addition to provisions for infrastructure spending, help for the poor and unemployed, and investment in alternative energy, this wide-ranging legislation enacts new federal tax relief provisions and extends a number of expired or expiring federal tax breaks.
According to the newly launched stimulus-tracking website Recovery.Gov, $288 billion of the Act’s projected $787 (continue reading…)
Call it a glass-half-full approach, turning lemons into lemonade, or simply an optimistic view that what comes down eventually goes up.
Whatever you call it, estate planning in a depressed financial market and economy can provide unique opportunities.
Investment portfolios and other asset values have fallen dramatically. With the right strategies, you can take advantage of these reduced values to transfer wealth to your beneficiaries with a much-reduced tax consequence.
The value of your investment portfolio is down, your home is worth (continue reading…)
Whether you’re interested in saving the planet, increasing the value of your home, or simply reducing your annual heating costs, even small investments in energy-efficient products can produce substantial results.
For example, installing compact fluorescent bulbs can reduce energy usage by 60 percent while producing only a quarter of the heat of a standard bulb.
Replacing your water heater with a solar version can reduce your water-heating costs by half and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 50 tons over the heater’s lifetime.
Energy-saving (continue reading…)
It’s said that lost time is never found again. Nevertheless, recently enacted tax legislation may have created an exception.
Many of the tax provisions that expired at the beginning of the year have now been extended through 2008―and in some cases, 2009―before they expire again.
For example, for 2008 Congress enacted an AMT fix and retroactively reinstated a number of tax breaks, such as the optional deduction for state and local general sales taxes and the deduction for higher education expenses. Congress (continue reading…)
It’s been called the most important housing bill in a generation. President Bush signed the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 (Housing Act) into law on July 30, 2008.
Although enacted in July, the Housing Act actually went into effect on October 1―after a delay necessary to satisfy the Congressional Budget Office and other rule-makers.
There are also specific provisions triggered based on the day the legislation was formally signed into law.
The Housing Act’s primary purpose was to rescue (continue reading…)
English teachers, college students, employees of the overseas offices of American companies: All told, more than four million U.S. citizens live and work abroad at any one time.
Many of them are blissfully unaware of the tax implications of this choice.
Americans and permanent U.S. residents are subject to the federal income tax, regardless of where they live or where the income is earned. Whether you live and work in the U.S. or overseas, you must file a U. S. federal income (continue reading…)
Life partners in their mid 60s, Jack and Mary have seriously considered marriage. But the major financial impact it would have on their retirement income and medical benefits always holds them back.
Ben and John have been in a committed relationship for nearly fifteen years. Their family includes two small children and a golden retriever named Sam–happily settled into a Ballard home. Under Washington state’s 1998 Defense of Marriage Act, Ben and John cannot legally marry.
What do these families have in (continue reading…)