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Financial Conversations with Fitz #51 - Have You Started On Your Tax Papers Yet? - 02/02/2010

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Now this is more like a regular winter day!  Cold but not too bad.   Good for travel.  It looks like the DOW might open higher.   Grains will be mixed.   I don’t know if you ever noticed that most days of trading have 3-4 times commercial traders vs. non commercial.   Had a great Family Fun Night at the Y sponsored by the businesses and Extension.   Lots of families and all ages having a fun evening together.

Don’t Forget our Climate Change Web Cast tonight at TSB in Forest City beginning at 7:00.  

Well, it is Feb 1st, All Ready!  Got my tax file sorted this weekend.    Reminded me of a lot of review questions we get at tax time.    Double check your 1099s off of last year return.   No sense doing your return and finding out after you are all done that you get a new 1099 in the mail.   A few changes this year because of stimulus programs…..If you drew unemployment in 2009 be sure to remember the first $2,400 is tax free.   If you lost your house to foreclosure remember to double check on the factors.   Most of those in Iowa will not be affected.    Also if you traded cars and used Cash for Klunkers.  You do not; DO NOT have to pay tax on the rebate.   Have had several calls on that.  Of course the other big rebate was on First Time Homebuyers.   A maximum of $8,000 was available if you purchased in 2009.   Also some carryover until April 30th of 2010.    WE do have to use a special form 5405 with some more detail on for this filing.   You might want to use some help getting this done.   Another good Credit is the American Opportunity Tax Credit is good for families with students in college.   You can get a credit and even a refund if you spent up to $2,500 for college.   That is not too hard to do.   Up to 40% of that is available as a credit/refund.    This is a bit different and better than last year.  Another tax credit has been improved…..Earned-income credit, which, by the way, 25% of the people eligible fail to apply for it.   The average family receives about $2,000 for this.   Some a lot more.   They have raised the amount and the number of children that qualify.   You will be surprised that a family can earn up to $48,279 or individual $43,279 to qualify for earned income credit with three children.   They are different amounts on a scale from the top.   I have seen some as high as $3,800 in credit.  You can file for this even though you don’t owe any income tax.   It is a refund if you have real low earnings.  Be sure to check with a tax preparer if you have any questions.   If you can’t spend the money there are plenty of FREE tax prep VITA centers hosted by Extension and other agencies that will help you with your questions.  Check with Extension in our local counties for a site and date closest to you.   So filing income tax can be helpful if you have a refund coming with little or no income.  
Climate Change tonight!

Bring a neighbor so you can discuss it on the way home over coffee.  If you could call in to pre register so we know how many to set up for.    You can call WGO Extension office at 641-584-2261. 

Remember that you should deal with people in community banks and organizations.  When you work with them, you know that you will also see them sitting with them at ball games, church or community events.