Tax Relief and Health Care Act of 2006

6 02 2007

Tax time is almost here – and although most people look forward to their annual visit to their tax professional about as much as a dental exam, this year just might bring a few pleasant surprises. On December 20, President Bush signed the Tax Relief and Health Care Act of 2006. And some of the new changes just might help you.

You now have an option to deduct either state and local INCOME taxes – or state and local SALES taxes, whichever is larger. If you saved all your receipts throughout the year, you can add up the total amount of sales taxes you paid and claim that amount. But let’s be realistic…very few of us actually save all our receipts – so instead, you can take the easy road, and simply click on this link: Sales Tax Deduction Calculator.

If you, your spouse, or your children attend any level of college in 2006 or 2007, a hefty deduction of up to $4,000 may apply! This deduction can only be used if it provides more benefit than the Hope or Lifetime Learning Credits, which take into account your college expenses and your Adjusted Gross Income. But it applies even if you are using student loans to pay for your tuition. Definitely worth a closer look – and for more information on what you might qualify for, hit this link: Hope or Lifetime Learning Credit Info

Many teachers pay for classroom supplies from their own personal funds – but can now deduct $250 of the expense. And better yet, if the expenses exceed the $250 amount, there can be other benefits available by itemizing the supply deductions. Link here to learn more: Educator Expense Adjustment. If you aren’t a teacher yourself – being aware of how much is paid out of pocket by teachers – it may be a nice idea to ask your local school or your child’s teacher if they need any supplies donated to their classrooms.

If you feel any of the above items might apply to you, be sure to gather the additional documentation, and take the time to ask your accountant if you can benefit from these specific changes. And if you need the referral of a qualified tax professional, I’d be happy to provide a contact. Asking just a few simple questions could give you a well-deserved break!





Win Up to $10,000 in College Scholarship Awards

6 02 2007

Attention Florida high school seniors: Time is running out for you to win up to $10,000 to help pay for college tuition next year. Better start writing – there’s only a month left until the March 2, 2007 deadline to enter the Florida Association of Realtors® (FAR) 2006-2007 Scholarship/Essay Contest for High School Seniors, which offers a total of $106,000 in scholarship funding.

Students must write a typed, double-spaced essay, 500 words or less, on the topic, “How Does a Realtor® Professional Benefit the Community?” This topic gives students a wide range of real estate professional fields to write about, including residential brokerage, commercial brokerage, industrial and office brokerage, farm and land brokerage, real estate appraising, property management, land development and real estate counseling, to name just a few of the specialties.

Now in its seventh year, FAR’s scholarship program benefits students from across the state, with prize money going to the first-, second- and third-place essays in each of the Association’s 13 districts in the state. Students turning in the top district-winning essays will each win a $5,000 scholarship prize while the second-place entries will each receive a $1,500 scholarship award. For the first time this year, students will be recognized for winning third in each district with a $500 scholarship award. The 13 district-winning essays then compete to win three $5,000 FAR scholarships on the statewide level, for a total of $106,000 in scholarship awards. All essays, along with an official Essay Cover Form, must be postmarked no later than March 2, 2007, and mailed to the Florida Association of Realtors, 7025 Augusta National Drive, P.O. Box 725025, Orlando, FL, 32872-5025.

“Our successful scholarship program is just one example of how the Florida Association of Realtors® looks into the future,” says 2007 FAR President Nancy Riley. “Tomorrow’s Florida depends on the youth of today realizing their dreams of a higher education and we are proud to have a part in making that dream come true.”

FAR’s statewide scholarship awards program is open only to high school seniors who reside in the state of Florida and plan on continuing their education at a college, university, technical school or other institution of higher learning. Children whose parents or guardians are licensed real estate practitioners are not eligible for contest entry; nor are children whose parents or guardians are employed by any local Realtor board/association or by the Florida Association of Realtors®.

Scholarship contest rules and the official essay cover form are available at public and private senior high school guidance offices throughout the state. Or students, parents, teachers – anyone – can go to FAR’s Media Center Web site, (http://media.living.net) to download the required essay cover form, list of FAR District Vice Presidents and other scholarship/essay contest materials.

The Florida Association of Realtors, the voice for real estate in Florida, provides programs, services, continuing education, research and legislative representation to its 170,000 members in 68 boards/associations.

Source: Florida Association of REALTORS®








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