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The Junior Scribes Writer’s Group met on Tuesday, Dec. 3, to celebrate the completion of National Novel Writing Month. Members set a word count goal according to their age and almost every mem…

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WHEATFIELD — The KV School Board and corporation officials announced Monday night they are naming the middle school football field after Bill Ridley, assistant principal and athletic director …

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MoneyTips

Do the words "tax return" send shivers down your spine because you always end up with a gigantic headache and little or no tax refund at the end? Maybe the problem is in preparation and planning – or lack of it. Tax law is complicated, and it takes a coordinated, sustained effort to optimize your refund. Let these nine tips help you acquire the best refund possible.

1. Don't Delay – The IRS doesn't start processing forms for the 2019 tax year until January 27, 2020, but that doesn't mean you have to wait until right before this year's deadline of April 15. If you need motivation, think of what you can do with a tax refund windfall. The sooner you file, the sooner you can put your refund to use. Two other reasons to avoid procrastination: the earlier you begin, the more time you'll have to locate any missing documents and data; and the sooner you file, the harder it is for a tax identity thief to target you.

2. Contribute to Retirement Pla...

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MoneyTips

Your home isn't just your castle; it is also a source of tax deductions. Yet, every year, Americans let these potential tax deductions pass by, not realizing how to take advantage of them. Complicating matters, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 made major changes to the tax breaks that every homeowner should know.

IRS Publication 530, titled "Tax Information for Homeowners", can fill you in on the deductions that are available to you for the 2019 tax year. Several of the most important tax benefits are listed below.

  • Mortgage Interest – This should be the largest home-related tax deduction that is available to you. If you bought your home before December 15, 2017, you can deduct interest payments on either primary or secondary homes, up to the limit of $1 million in collective mortgage debt if married and filing jointly, or $50...

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MoneyTips

The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a program designed to provide tax relief for American workers with low-paying jobs. Could you qualify for this tax credit? If you have a relatively low income, take some time to find out.

Earned Income Tax Credit Qualification

Some eligible taxpayers miss out on EITC savings because they have no taxes withheld and think that they cannot possibly qualify. However, EITC is a refundable tax credit, meaning that even if you owe no taxes you may be eligible to get money back — as long as you file a tax return. You cannot qualify if you do not file. But if you do file, and owe no taxes, you may get a check from Uncle Sam anyway!

To claim this credit, you must meet certain requirements. First, you must have earned income. Generally, this refers to wages, salaries, tips or self-employment income. Other...

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By Andrea Woroch

As a new decade begins, many have their sights set on change. After what feels like a lifetime of working, though, it can be difficult to transition to a cold-turkey retirement. To stay busy and supplement income many people are "semi-retiring" instead.

Folks are leaving their traditional jobs, cutting costs and looking for more flexible, fun work. And, these days, you don't have to look far. With the emergence of the "gig economy", it's easy to earn a little side cash, without having to commit to a 9 to 5 job – or even leave the house.

If your goal is to achieve a semi-retired lifestyle in 2020, follow these steps and start living out the rest of your life in freedom.

1. Downsize.

Your housing expenses are likely the biggest line item in your budget. Whether you rent or own, look at options for reducing this expense. Not only does finding a smaller house or moving into an apartment help lower your actual...

Semi-Retirement Is the New Retirement (Infographic)

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MoneyTips

Is it tax time already? You may not want to admit it, but tax time starts well before the filing deadline. Your important tax forms start arriving in the mail in January. If you simply let them accumulate in a pile, it will be April before you realize it, and you will be scrambling around, attempting to do your taxes at the last moment. Woe unto you if you realize at the last minute that one of your important tax forms is nowhere to be found.

How many forms should you expect? That depends on your situation, but anything that contributes to your income or makes adjustments to your taxable income will require documentation. Primary forms include:

  • W-2s – Everyone that you have worked for as a direct employee owes you a W-2 form to show all monies paid to you and taxes withheld.

  • 1099s – 1099s cover all income from sources...

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MoneyTips

Tax preparers such as Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) and Enrolled Agents are incredibly busy during tax season. Their time is precious, even more so in recent years with many of the changes introduced by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act currently in effect. That makes it even more important for you to prepare for your allotted tax preparation time.

Your tax professional needs the following four categories of information to prepare your taxes properly. Make sure to bring all the necessary forms and receipts and organize them so that they may be found quickly.

  • Identification and Basic Information – For any new relationships, you will need to supply identification for you, your spouse, and all dependents claimed. Social Security cards are preferred, but other government-issued ID is usually acceptable. Check with your preparer before you visit.

    Other basic information includes your address, your previous year's tax form, and any info...

Get Ready For Tax Season!

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Tax Preparers Make Big Mistakes

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MoneyTips

Did you have a happy New Year? We certainly hope so. Now it's time to get back to regular routines and take care of January chores, including gathering your tax information.

The 2020 Tax Season Begins on January 27

The IRS has announced that the 2020 tax season will begin on January 27th. The beginning of tax season marks the first day that the IRS will accept individual electronic returns and start processing traditional paper returns.

Soon, you and more than 150 million of your fellow Americans will be sifting through tax information and preparing returns — or have them prepared for you. In 2018, tax preparers filed nearly 79.5 million electronic returns. In 2019, the industry employed 314,413 tax practitioners in 134,475 businesses and created $11 billion in revenue. Expect tax preparers to be even busier in 2020 due to the ...

6 Tax Filing Myths Debunked

IRS2Go 101

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MoneyTips


Holiday Debt On the Increase

Are your credit cards still smoking from holiday overuse? Based on a recent MagnifyMoney survey, it wouldn't be surprising.

Consumers who financed their holiday spending averaged $1,325 in holiday spending debt – a sharp increase from 2018's $1,230, 2017's $1,054 average and 2016's $1,003 average. Increases in wages and consumer confidence are at least partly to blame. Did a personal increase in wages and confidence lead you into a mountain of holiday debt?

We've given previous tips on dealing with excessive holiday debt. You've got more debt – so we've got five more tips, for a total of 10.

6. Slice Your Budget Further

To pay off holiday debt, you can't sett...

10 Tips For Dealing With Holiday Debt, Part 1

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7 Things To Do Now To Avoid New Debt This Holiday Season

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MoneyTips

Santa was not so kind to your friends and relatives this year, so you felt the need to fill the gap. You overspent on holiday gifts, and now you are stuck with a significant amount of holiday debt. Gratitude from gift recipients is a great feeling, but gratitude is not going to pay off your MasterCard bill. If it's any comfort, you're not alone; according to one report, Americans racked up an average of $1,325 in debt last holiday season.

What do you do? Start with the classic bit of advice – "if you are in a hole, stop digging." Recognize that you overspent, and freeze your spending until you can take the following steps.

How to Reduce Holiday Debt

  1. Assess the Situation and Rebalance the Budget – Face up to your debt and total up the damage. Rebalance your budget to account for this new debt, and look for any budgeted spending that you can temporarily drop. You will need to eat out less often and delay other discretionary spendi...

Now Is When People Fall Behind On Bills

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