RE/MAX 440
John F. O'Hara

John F. O'Hara
731 W Skippack Pike  Blue Bell  PA 19422
Phone:  610-277-4060
Office:  215-643-3200
Cell:  267-481-1786
Fax:  267-354-6973

My Blog

Tax Tips: Credits and Deductions for Every Life Stage

March 8, 2016 2:12 am

Each year, millions of taxpayers over-pay by overlooking credits and missing deductions. Don’t let a knowledge gap prohibit you from receiving the maximum refund!

"Major life changes affect the eligibility for specific credits and deductions,” says Mark Steber, chief tax officer of Jackson Hewitt®. “Without help, it's easy to miss them.”

The most overlooked credits and deductions, based on life stage, are:

Students

The American Opportunity Deduction and Lifetime Learning Credits are worth up to $2,500 and are available for students attending a qualified college or trade school, based on enrollment status, tuition and fees paid, adjusted gross income and filing status. 

Single Parents

Filing as 'Head of Household' offers a higher standard deduction and a lower tax rate than filing 'Single.' This is available for single or unmarried taxpayers who pay for more than half of the cost of maintaining a home and have a qualifying dependent.

Newlyweds

Couples who were married last year can file a joint return, which is generally more advantageous. Those who were married at a place of worship or historical site may be able to donate an offering and claim it as a charitable contribution. Brides may even write off the fair market value of their wedding gown if they donate it.

Homeowners

Don't wait until mortgage interest and real estate taxes are bigger than the standard deduction to itemize deductions. These items, and more, can be itemized:  energy-saving upgrades (like energy-efficient windows or insulation) could be eligible for a tax credit up to $500, and tax preparation fees may be deductable on Schedule A.

Families

Families may miss a host of credits, including the Child Tax Credit (a credit of up to $1,000 per child under the age of 17); the Earned Income Tax Credit (one of the largest federal tax credits, worth up to $6,242 based on income and number of dependents); and the Child and Dependent Care Credit (a credit of up to $2,100 to assist with the cost of daycare for dependents [children under 13 and elderly family members requiring care] while an individual works).

Pre-Retirees

Don't miss the Saver's Credit of up to $1,000 per person for contributing to a pension plan or 401(k). Many people contribute to these accounts, but then forget to claim this credit.  People who turned 65 by the end of the tax year are also entitled to a higher standard deduction; however, they should still review expenses during the tax year to determine if itemizing deductions would be more beneficial than taking the standard deduction. 

Source: Jackson Hewitt®

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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This Year's Trends in Nursery Décor

March 8, 2016 2:12 am

If you (or someone you know) will be welcoming a baby in the coming months, now’s a good time to plan an adorable and efficient nursery for the new arrival. Better Homes and Gardens checked in with decorators to learn what’s new and trendy in baby room décor this year:

It’s Back to Pastels… – The recent trend toward bold, bright, primary colors is giving way to preference for pastels—at least according to paint manufacturers, who say pink, baby blue and light yellow are their best-selling nursery colors. You could also consider a creamy neutral shade and warm it up with pastel accessories.

…but Some Like It Hotter – On the other hand, some decorators say a nursery decked out in bold colors remain the choice of parents who don’t want to have to redecorate the room as the child gets older.

Unique Mobiles Are In – The trend is to larger, more vivid mobiles, such as papier mâché balloons, hanging stuffed animals, or abstract flying sculptures.

Gliders Over Rockers – A big, comfy armchair that can hold you plus two makes sense to many moms who expect to have a second child—especially if they will be sharing a room.

Paint Up Above – The trend toward clouds or other designs on the ceiling came about to give baby something more to look at and contemplate than a plain, white-painted ceiling.

Furniture that Transitions – Cribs that convert to toddler beds and changing tables that will become dressers are becoming more popular than ever.

Cut-Outs and Decals – The trend is to jazz up pastel walls with decals or wooden cut-outs. You can use a theme, like a nursery rhyme or storybook characters, or choose abstract designs like geometric shapes the baby will not outgrow as quickly. Gaining in popularity in decals today are safari animals and Disney characters.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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