The IRS recommends that you keep tax records for at least three years from the date you filed your original return, and longer for special situations. You may need copies of your tax returns for tasks like filing future years’ taxes, applying for a mortgage loan or student aid, or settling IRS inquiries. How to
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You have decided that it is time to sell your home. Regardless of the reason why, you want as smooth and as quick of a sale as possible. To keep your sale trouble-free, consider these potential stumbling blocks before you begin your home-selling journey. Overpricing – Set the price using appraisal values and market rates,
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Tax season is upon us, accompanied by many new federal tax changes. If you are one of the many Americans struggling to understand how to fill out your tax forms, the IRS — yes, that IRS — may be able to offer you free assistance. The IRS offers the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program
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The home appraisal process can be one of the most nerve-wracking parts of a home sale. A single independent party is assessing the fair market value of your home, and the appraiser’s conclusion can sink the deal. Banks will not approve the loan if the appraisal does not give them sufficient collateral. The primary factors
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To pay someone to figure out how much you have to pay the government seems like adding insult to injury. For many taxpayers, there’s an easier way. Formed in 2003, IRS Free File is the product of a partnership between the Internal Revenue Service and a group of twelve online tax software suppliers that form
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Congratulations! You have just been handed your first little bundle of joy in the hospital and have embarked on the long journey of parenthood. It is a trip full of joyful experiences that make the corresponding aggravations worthwhile, and it comes with many benefits — some of which are tax-related. You can look forward to
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When you decide to revamp your home, the goal is usually to suit your lifestyle and create an ambiance more to your own taste. In a world of financial uncertainties, however, it is crucial to consider the effect on the resale value of your property. Home improvement projects that enhance sought-after features can make your
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You would love to embark on a home improvement project that will spruce up your property and improve its resale value at the same time, but you only have $1,000 in the budget. What sort of projects can give you the best return on your investment (ROI)? We have five options below for your consideration.
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Are you starting home improvement projects to celebrate spring – or to recover from this year’s wicked heating bill? Are you looking to sell your home soon, and investigating home improvements to improve the sale price? In any case, you want your home upgrades to result in savings and/or increased value. But which improvements are
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MoneyTips By Andrea Woroch Every year, countless people throughout the country dream up personal finance-related New Year’s Resolutions. Most of the goals are centered around saving more money, whether it’s by earning more or spending less. Some folks have trips they want to take or projects they need to cross off their to-do list, while
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While many deductions were cut or modified with the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) of 2017, most tax credits were retained. Tax credits are more powerful than tax deductions because they directly subtract from your tax bill (deductions only reduce taxable income). Refundable tax credits are even better, since refunds can be greater
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Refinancing your home can be a difficult task under any conditions, but with a low appraisal value, it is especially challenging. The recent housing crisis left many homeowners in this position – the overall drop in home values produced loan-to-value (LTV) ratios that were unacceptably high to banks, putting refinancing out of reach. Even without
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According to the Federal Reserve Board, there are three things to consider when determining whether refinancing your home is a good idea: How long you have already been paying your mortgage. How long you plan to remain in your home. Whether or not your current mortgage has a prepayment penalty. When you
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Are you considering refinancing your home? You may want to act before interest rates rise further. The refinancing plan that’s right for you and your family depends on your current financial situation. Is your home underwater (that is, you owe more on your home than it is currently worth) and you need to secure a
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Interested in buying a fixer-upper? There are several different methods of acquiring a renovation loan, but two federally backed renovation mortgage programs will allow you to do a combined purchase and repair mortgage loan – the FHA 203(k) loan and the Fannie Mae Homestyle Renovation mortgage. They are perfect for rehab work on foreclosed properties,
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As the housing market recovers, many homeowners still owe more on their house than it is presently worth. In many cases, people who are “upside down” on their mortgage, as this is known, can negotiate with their lenders to sell their homes for less than what they owe, rather than go through foreclosure. These types
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To paraphrase the old adage, there are only three absolutes in life: death, taxes, and the rise of scams during tax season. A major tax scam since 2013 involves phone calls by fictional IRS agents that demand immediate payment for alleged tax debts, threatening lawsuits or even jail time to those who refused to comply.
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When it comes to financing your mortgage, trying to navigate the labyrinth of lenders can get confusing. Like any significant financial transaction, there are advantages and disadvantages that come with each type of lender. Get started by asking your realtor for referrals. With a large commission at stake, realtors have the right sort of incentive
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Many potential homeowners who are considering how to finance their dream home think of going to a bank or other type of traditional lender themselves. However, there is another option: they can hire a mortgage broker to handle the research and comparison shopping for them. These professionals have access to products, rates, and other information
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Umbrella policies are aptly named, although they have nothing to do with rain or Mary Poppins. Like an umbrella, these policies form an extra layer of broad insurance protection over and above the liability limits of your existing policies. When properly constructed, they fill coverage gaps in your existing policies and create higher limits for
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Tax filing season is upon us. Soon you will be filing your paperwork and perhaps receiving a nice check — unless thieves file a return in your name first and falsely claim your refund. Unfortunately, if a thief has your Social Security number and other relevant information, tax identity theft is very hard to prevent.
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Most credit cards have rewards programs or sign-up bonuses these days, and many of those rewards increase with your level of spending. Doesn’t it make sense to funnel your large regular expenses, such as mortgage payments, through your credit card to reap those rewards? Paying your mortgage with a credit card may be a reasonable
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The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) limited itemized deductions and doubled the standard deduction to entice more taxpayers to skip itemizing – but money-saving deductions still remain for eligible taxpayers. Do you qualify for any of the following nineteen deductions? 1. Charitable Donations – This is one of the few deductions with
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You’ve received a phone call from a utility company demanding a payment right now or your utilities will be immediately shut off – or maybe representatives of your utility show up at your door to make the same threat. What do you do? Don’t pay them. It’s almost certainly a scam. Utility companies don’t make
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As you approach retirement, you may find yourself in need of cash to deal with certain expenses. Perhaps you have decided to address a long-delayed home remodeling, you want to travel, or you just need extra living expenses for a given period. There are several ways for you to use the equity in your home
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