Personal Finance

A&A

Drug Program Choices: Employer Paid Benefits or Pharmaceuticals’ Charity Programs

Retirees currently covered by employer-sponsored health plans will receive letters by November 15 that tell how their coverage compares with the new Medicare Part D, and how their current health benefits may change, a requirement of the federal government, says the New York Times.
Community News

UPDATE- EVENT POSTPONED: PICPA Offers Veterans Financial Planning Program

On Monday, the PICPA announced this event has been postponed due to last week's SEPTA strike and ensuing trvel challenges. The event will be rescheduled when the residual effects of the strike and travel disruption have subsided.Veterans can get free financial advice from members of the Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants (PICPA) at the Philadelphia VA Medical Center on Wednesday, November 9, 2005 between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. The event is part of a national effort by the CPA profession to promote financial literacy and help Americans improve their financial future.
A&A

Attention Turning to Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Programs

Just two months after Congress passed a massive energy bill supporting increasing supplies of oil and gas, homeowners and businesses in the Northeast and Midwest are bracing for huge projected cost increases for natural gas for heating and electricity this winter, and are scrambling to find ways of conserving energy. Children have been encouraged by the U.S. Department of Energy to be on the lookout for “EnergyHog” in their homes, RedOrbit.com reports.
Tax

Record High Oil Profits Spur Talk of Windfall Tax

Talk of a windfall tax on oil companies is surfacing as the companies are reporting their latest quarterly revenue. The concern is that while American consumers are facing much higher energy costs, especially for heating oil and natural gas, the oil companies are reporting record-high profits. “Some might call it a novel approach for me, but I cannot sit back in good conscience while those in our society struggling to heat their homes are being left in the cold by oil companies,” Sen.

Americans' Spending, Income Up in September

Consumer spending increased somewhat in September, but income grew by the largest amount in 10 months, a federal report says.The U.S. Department of Commerce said income rose 1.7 percent, due in part to post-hurricane insurance payouts, which increased at a $120 billion annual rate, Reuters reported. Consumer spending increased 0.5 percent in September, but when the figures were adjusted for inflation, the increase turned into a 0.4 percent drop because soaring fuel prices eroded the gains. Consumer spending amounts to about two-thirds of all economic activity.
Tax

Inflation Widens Tax Brackets & Changes Benefits

Adjustments for inflation announced Friday by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will increase personal exemptions and deductions, widen tax brackets and allow individuals to make larger tax-free gifts in 2006.

Reverse Mortgages in the Wake of Hurricane Disaster

Marketwatch reports that mortgage servicers are continuing to pay borrowers on their reverse mortgages but how long will they be able to say that in the face of the destruction in the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita? While these servicers pay out mortgage payments, they are holding their breath to see how the insurance coverage paid by borrowers respond to the disaster.The operative question is if the value of the reverse mortgage is based on the home that might have been destroyed in the storms or resulting destruction.
A&A

Making Contributions to Foreign Charities

“Charity begins at home” is a popular phrase often used to encourage donations to local charities. But for a nation nearly 1 million people immigrated to and more than half a million new American citizens were naturalized in 2004 alone, according to Department of Homeland Security statistics, home may not always be the United States. Even Americans who are born here may have strong connections to other countries or feel compelled to contribute to foreign charities in the wake of such disasters as tsunamis and earthquakes.
Community News

Public Sets High Standards for Nonprofits

Two recent surveys of perceptions of nonprofits, conducted before Hurricane Katrina, suggest some skepticism among donors and the public at large about large national charitable organizations. One survey, The Charitable Impulse, conducted by Public Agenda, a nonpartisan research organization, surveyed two distinct groups.

Florida to Launch Model Medicaid Program

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced their approval for Florida to launch an “unprecedented demonstration” Medicaid program starting in July 2006 reports the Senior Journal. The program will be phased in starting in Broward (Fort Lauderdale) and Duval (Jacksonville) counties with a statewide implementation to follow.
Community News

Measuring Non-Profit Performance -- Self-Review & Charity Monitors

Member charities of the United Way of the Coastal Empire (Georgia) are receiving visits from volunteer internal inspectors during their fall campaigns, savannahnow.com reports. Denise Oberlin, an inspector, accompanied Patti Lyons on a food delivery for Senior Citizen’s Inc. and was told that three out of four of the people served by the Agency were below the poverty level. Lyons also told Ms.
A&A

Employees to Mull New Trade-offs in 2006 Health Care Options

An array of new health care benefits have become available that may help employees plan for ever-increasing medical costs.Advertisement
Tax

IRS Grants Tax Favored Treatment for Early Distribution of Retirement Funds

Taxpayers who suffered losses resulting from Hurricane Katrina are being advised by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to be aware of recent changes in tax law providing for tax-favored withdrawals, reconstitutions and loans from certain retirement plans.Advertisement
Community News

Credit Abuse Resistance Education Program

The effects of new bankruptcy law have received considerable attention lately. Just as important, however, is educating people, especially young people, how to avoid bankruptcy. The Credit Abuse Resistance Education or C.A.R.E. Program is a national program founded by the U.S.

Resource Round-up: Bankruptcy Resources

Whenever a law is overhauled, there are changes to be explored and understood. Few changes, however, are as sweeping as those found in the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005.
A&A

Deductions for Casualty Losses Offer Big Tax Benefits to Katrina Victims

Katrina victims who claim personal or business casualty losses may be entitled to large refunds on their original 2004 and 2005 returns or by filing an amended 2004 return.Advertisement
Tax

Social Security Increase Runs Short

The Social Security Administration announced a 4.1 percent cost of living adjustment for more than 52 million retired and disabled recipients last week. Checks will increase an average of $39 starting in January. This is the largest increase since the 5.4 percent advance in 1991. Last year’s increase was 2.7 percent.
Tax

Tax Filing Deadline Is Today

October 17 is the deadline for taxpayers who received an additional extension in August to file their 2004 federal income tax returns. Taxpayers in Presidentially-declared disaster areas including those affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita as well as an August tornado in Campbell County, Wyoming, have been granted additional time to file.

Record Numbers File for Personal Bankruptcy

Preliminary estimates report 200,000 personal bankruptcy filings during the final week before the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 becomes effective on October 17, according to Lundquist Consulting, a company that compiles bankruptcy statistics, MarketWatch reports.
Tax

Companies Combating ID Thefts while Consumers Check Credit Reports

Lost or stolen credit cards still account for a large percentage of identity thefts as do scams such as credit-card skimmers used at restaurants and ATMs, says Chris Thoms, chief risk officer at MasterCard International, according to MarketWatch.com. These thefts can result from the consumer’s behavior. But well-publicized breaches of giant data systems like ChoicePoint, Bank of America and CardSystems Solutions could potentially affect 56.3 million people, MarketWatch reports.

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