Financial Tips
for Babies to Baby Boomers and Beyond
March, 2010 - Issue #65
For Children & Parents

From Child Care to College, don't Miss Tax Savings

Children can represent a tax savings for childcare and even college tuition. If you have a new baby in 2009, you are entitled to a $3,650 exemption deduction. If you have a child, you may be entitled to the child tax credit. Unlike a deduction, this credit represents a dollar-for-dollar reduction in your tax bill. Working parents may also be entitled to a tax credit for the expenditures incurred for the care of their children under the age of 13 while the parents are at work. The American Opportunity Tax Credit is worth as much as $2,500 for college tuition paid in 2009. It is also available in 2010. All of the aforementioned deductions or credits are subject to filing status, adjusted gross income phase out and limitations, or the number of years in postsecondary education.
Danielle Cooper, CPA of Veracity Tax 800-462-8602

For People in Debt
Discover a Way to Keep your Home

Many residents of the Santa Clarita Valley are facing the prospect that they are unable to make the payments on their home mortgage or mortgages. The following is a summary of the advantages associated with a Chapter 13 filing.

Chapter 13 affords debtors the opportunity to retain their homes, as long as they make regular monthly payments and plan payments. Wholly undersecured junior mortgages may be removed from title upon entry of Chapter 13 discharge. Judicial liens may be removed. Auto loans that were made more than 910 days prior may be subject to being reduced to the value of the motor vehicle with payments made through Chapter 13 plan. Foreclosures, seizures, garnishments, levies and collection efforts are stayed during the course of a Chapter 13 and are permanently enjoined upon entry of the discharge. Taxes are generally nondischargeable, but may be paid with post petition interest abated upon full payment and entry of the Chapter 13 discharge. Loans may not be modified by the Court, but may be consensually negotiated with lenders and approved by the Court. Short sales may be approved by the Court. The filing of bankruptcy before a short is completed should be subject to legal consultation before a sale is closed to avoid possible tax liabilities or being prohibited from filing for relief under Chapter 7, an alternative to Chapter 13.
Certified Bankruptcy Specialist Louis J. Esbin, Esq. of Law Offices of Louis J. Esbin 254-5050

Break Away from Fear and take Action
Stop letting fear dictate your life. Many folks who are drowning in debt find themselves paralyzed by fear and anxiety. It's really a fear of the unknown. "Will I lose my house? Do I need to file for bankruptcy? Do I need to cash out my retirement? Are we going to make it?" Instead of having solid answers to these questions, most people lose sleep wondering about all the "what ifs..." Stop making yourself sick. A professional debt consultant can help you answer these questions and create a manageable plan of attack to start rebuilding your life debt free. It's a simple process, and one that starts with a brief phone call to schedule a comfortable, stress-free visit with a bankruptcy lawyer. Bring in your creditor lists and/or statements, last few months' pay stubs and a few other items. We'll discuss your financial situation for about 15 minutes, then review all of your options on how you may want to get out of debt - considering the upsides and possible drawbacks of each one. Among your options is bankruptcy, but it's not the only one. It should be a last resort, and therefore we will recommend bankruptcy only when it is the best solution to your individual debt problem. You'll leave the office with the knowledge - and a plan - to take back your life.
Hale Andrew Antico of SCV Bankruptcy 252-9900

For Home and Business Owners
Save Money with Maintenance Agreements

In today's economy, heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) consumers are trying to find ways to protect themselves against unexpected repair bills. There is an easy and affordable way to maintain their systems and prevent any surprises: maintenance agreements. These offer peace of mind and increased protection against costly breakdowns. Within individual households as well as businesses, HVAC systems account for approximately half of electrical consumption. When your furnace or air conditioner runs efficiently, you save energy, which equals money in your pocket. Typical maintenance agreements include scheduled tune-ups, cleanings and inspections for the term indicated on the agreement. In the long run, maintenance agreements save you time and money.
GW Richardson Heating & A/C, Inc. 295-0115

For Mid-life & Beyond
Protect your Assets & get Free Perks

The Union Bank "Financial Watch" program is geared towards seniors, who are often targeted for fraud. Every local Union Bank can provide free advice on how to protect yourself and your assets. We also offer our clients 55 and older with a free bank program. We'll provide a free bank account with no limitations, free checks, free money orders, free cashier's checks and no monthly service charge. Union Bank is a local community bank; all decisions are made locally to provide the best in service to our customers.
Oscar Dominguez of Union Bank Stevenson Ranch 254-0015; Canyon Country 424-9686; Newhall 799-8529; Valencia 799-8531

Prepare for Long-term Care
Long-term care is a variety of services that includes medical and non-medical care to people who have a chronic illness or disability. Long-term care helps meet health or personal needs. Most long-term care is to assist people with support services, such as activities of daily living like dressing, bathing and using the bathroom. Long-term care can be provided at home, in the community, in assisted living or in nursing homes. It is important to remember that you may need long-term care at any age. This year, about 9,000,000 men and women over the age of 65 will need long-term care.
Peter R. Roca of Genworth Life Insurance Company 713-5381

For Everyone
Tax & Financial Planning for Every Stage in Life

Tax and financial planning can play a critical role in every stage of life. For example, there are several retirement plans for both individuals and businesses that allow you to contribute money for the future while getting tax deductions now. Some plans allow for large contributions as well as significant tax savings. Also, college tuition and fees can be very expensive. By opening a 529 college savings plan while the kids are young, those savings can grow tax free if used for future education. Beginning this year there is a new opportunity for those who have traditional IRAs to convert to a Roth IRA. This may be advantageous to you if you are in a lower tax bracket now or for seniors who may want to leave money to their heirs income-tax free without having to withdraw their IRA funds at 70 A.
Stern, Kory, Sreden & Morgan, An Accountancy Corporation 286-1040

Feel Better with Health Savings Accounts
With all the talk about rising healthcare and insurance costs, you might find that an HSA-compatible health plan, combined with a Health Savings Account (HSA), could be a great way for you to save money on your, and your family's, healthcare costs. While you should always discuss these types of decisions with your tax advisor, you will find that most HSA-compatible health plans have lower premiums, saving you money. Because the money you contribute to your HSA can be tax deductible, using your HSA to pay for qualified medical expenses - from doctor's fees and dental work to prescription and over-the-counter medications - can help maximize your healthcare buying power. An HSA can be used for qualified medical expenses not only for yourself but for your spouse and dependents as well.
Tamara Gurney of Mission Valley Bank Valencia 775-4100 and Centre Pointe 253-9500

Deduct Haiti Charity Donations on 2009 Tax Return
According to the IRS, people who give to charities providing earthquake relief in Haiti can claim these donations on the 2009 tax return. Taxpayers who itemize deductions on their 2009 return qualify for this special tax relief provision. Only cash contributions made to these charities on January 12, 2010 through February 28, 2010, are eligible. Contributions made by text message, check, credit card or debit card are included.
Michael L. Green of Michael L. Green Tax and Financial 257-4111

Advantage Tile Stone Design, Inc. Recognized by State
The state of California Senate honored Advantage Tile Stone Design, Inc. for the company's outstanding customer service; 295-9819

Prominent Plastics is a leading manufacturer of plastic diffuser lenses for the architectural, residential and hospitality industries - whether it's one custom project or production runs in the hundreds. With over 25 years experience in acrylic fabrication, their mission is simple: to provide the very best in product, pricing, lead time and above all, friendly customer service. Specializing in custom creations, Prominent Plastics creates stylish lecterns, podiums, display cases, tables and more, plus artistic services including sandblasting, CNC routing, laser cutting, silk screening, custom color creation, color matching and tooling; 295-7771
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