Google keeps moving forward with their secret mission to make it possible for people to never leave their houses. If you haven’t seen it yet, those buildings that just got a 3D upgrade in Google Maps now have an open front door. For a growing number of businesses you can step inside the establishment and take a look around. Participating businesses hope you like what you see enough to show up in person. Once inside you can look up, down, and all around with the seamless visuals we’re used to with Google Maps and Google Earth. There’s room to wander inside too. Clicking on arrows will move you around the room or down the hall so you can see into or enter even more rooms (click here to read the entire article).
Members of the armed forces who served overseas got an extra year to use the first-time home buyer tax credit. If you were abroad for at least 90 days between Jan. 1, 2009, and April 30, 2010, and you bought your home by April 20, 2011, and closed the deal by June 30, 2011, you can claim your first-time home buyer tax credit.
Federal Home buyer tax credit in 2008, 2009& 2010: If you claimed the home buyer tax credit in 2008, you’re now repaying that credit at the rate of $500 a year. If you used the first-time home buyer tax credit in 2009 or 2010, you don’t repay the credit unless you moved out, or no longer live there as your primary residence. If you’re not using the house as your permanent residence, you have to repay the full amount of the credit on your 2011 taxes. That repayment rules are less for uniformed service members, Foreign Service workers, and intelligence community workers who get sent on extended duty at least 50 miles from their principal residence.
The rules on tax deductions for vacation homes are complicated. Do yourself a favor and keep good records about how and when you use your vacation home. If you’re the only one using your vacation home (you don’t rent it out for more than 14 days a year), you can deduct mortgage interest and real estate taxes on Schedule A. Rent your vacation home out for more than 14 days and use it yourself fewer than 15 days (or 10% of total rental days, whichever is greater), and it’s treated like a rental property. Those expenses get deducted using Schedule E. Rent your home for part of the year and use it yourself for more than 14 days and you have to keep track of income, expenses, and divide them proportionate to how often you used and how often you rented the house (Houselogic 12/9/11).
No matter how lawmakers resolve the impasse, Congress has already injected plenty of confusion into the lives of ordinary Americans and businesses. Payroll tax: What a mess …And while the payroll tax cut, which would affect 160 million people, is garnering all the attention, dozens of other soon-to-expire tax breaks have thus far been largely ignored by Congress. One of them allows businesses to accelerate their depreciation on equipment purchases. That tax break can be a big help to cash-strapped small businesses. What about the renewal of the Flood Insurance bill? Nobody’s talking about that either. Will I be able to sell a home and continue to make a living in real estate? Read more
Do you know what happens every year when the deadline nears? Lenders stall closings, adding more uncertainty to our already tentative marketplace. Just one of the multi-week lapses last year alone caused 47,000 home sales to be delayed or cancelled in already down real estate markets. Over 20,000 communities nationwide depend on this program to in order to buy and sell real estate. You simply cannot acquire a mortgage without flood coverage and a policy cannot be issued without the assistance of this program. Maintaining available and affordable flood insurance for all Americans that need it is vital to keeping the market running smoothly. PLEASE TAKE ACTION TODAY!! http://www2.realtoractioncenter.com/site/PageServer?pagename=page_not_found
Every loan has it. Some have just day, others 15 or more…Prepaid interest (or points) you paid when you took out your mortgage is deductible over the life of the loan. Start with the amount that you paid at closing (it’s on your HUD-1 Settlement sheet). Divide by the number of years your mortgage lasts.
Keep in mind that the amount of prepayment is usually pretty small, so this can be a trifling deduction. Points on a refinance loan aren’t deductible, hey, but every penny counts, doesn’t it?
Energy tax credits
2011’s federal energy tax credits are up to to $500. If you upgraded one of the following systems this year, it’s an opportunity for a dollar-for-dollar reduction in your tax liability. If you get the $500 credit, you pay $500 less in taxes: Biomass stoves, heating, ventilation, air conditioning Insulation Roofs (metal and asphalt) Water heaters (non-solar) Windows, doors, and skylights Storm windows and doors, new windows are capped at $200. You can read more at he Energy Star website and download IRS Form 5695 to claim the deductions with the rest of your tax forms in 2012.
What’s PMI? If you have a mortgage but didn’t put down a fairly good-sized down payment (usually 20%), the lender requires the mortgage be insured. The premium on that insurance can be deducted, so long as your income is less than $100,000 (or $50,000 for married filing separately).Unless the government acts, the mortgage insurance premium deduction will expire as of this year. But for now, you can deduct the cost of private mortgage insurance as mortgage interest on Schedule A — meaning you must itemize your return. The change only applies to loans taken out in 2007 or later (Houselogic, 2011).
1. Eloise Pittman passed away last week. Her family is now left with a mountain of debt, and is trying to save a home that’s been in their family for over 50 years. Chase bank has been unwilling to find a solution that keeps them in their home.
2. Brigitte Walker is a decorated Iraq War veteran. She entered the army right out of high school and served for 21 years. In 2007 she was medically discharged. As a result she is now living on a fixed income and struggling to find work. Now she is facing eviction. After putting her life on the line for her country, it’s time that someone step up to defend her from this injustice. » Read More