Income Tax


What Are Taxes?

In 1913 the 16th Amendment (an addition) to the U.S. Constitution was approved. This created the modern U.S. income tax system. Each year residents of the United States are required to file an income tax form based on their income during the year. One type of income is called wages. Most taxpayers are employees and earn a money in exchange for their work. Taxes are taken out of their pay check. At the end of the year they are sent a form stating how much they earned for the year and how much taxes were with held. Calculations on a tax form is done to see if the taxes with held during the year was enough or too much. If it was too much then you get a refund of the taxes you over paid or if you didn’t pay enough then you would owe the extra.

There are many factors used to calculate your taxes including credits, dependents, filing status, and deductions. Depending on the above factors the government has set up what is called a standard deduction that is taken off of the income you earned during the year and what is left is your taxable income.

Itemized Deductions

Certain kinds of deductions are called itemized deductions. If you have enough of them to beat the standard deduction, it is usually a good idea to itemize. For most taxpayers, owning a home makes itemizing worthwhile. To deduct expenses of owning a home, you must file Form 1040 and itemize your deductions on Schedule A. There are three primary areas: real estate taxes, home mortgage interest, and mortgage insurance premiums. Generally, your real estate taxes, home mortgage interest, and mortgage insurance premiums are included in your house payment.

If you have investment property other items can be added to the above list. Advertising, utilities, repairs, maintenance, supplies, and professional fees. All of which can be used to make your deductions higher therefore lower your taxable income.

There are also credits which the government gives you a certain amount of money to take off your income before it is taxed. Energy credits are one of these. You can claim a credit for energy-saving home improvements made for the cost of skylights, outside doors, windows, pigmented roofs and high-efficiency furnaces, water heaters and central air conditioners installed this year in a primary home. This is usually not what you paid for the improvement but a standard deduction for what type of improvement. I look for other items to be added each tax year.

Selling A House


Selling A House
Say to yourself, “This is not my home; it is a house — a product to be sold much like a box of cereal on the grocery store shelf.

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Make Minor Repairs.

  • Replace cracked floor or counter tiles.
  • Patch holes in walls.
  • Fix leaky faucets.
  • Fix doors that don’t close properly and kitchen drawers that jam.
  • Replace burned-out light bulbs.

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Make the House Sparkle!

  • Wash windows inside and out.
  • Rent a pressure washer and spray down sidewalks and exterior.
  • Clean out cobwebs.
  • Re-caulk tubs, showers and sinks.
  • Polish chrome faucets and mirrors.
  • Clean out the refrigerator.
  • Vacuum daily.
  • Wax floors.
  • Dust furniture, ceiling fan blades and light fixtures.
  • Bleach dingy grout.
  • Replace worn rugs.
  • Hang up fresh towels.
  • Clean and air out any musty smelling areas.

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Check Curb Appeal.

  • If a buyer won’t get out of her agent’s car because she doesn’t like the exterior of your home, you’ll never get her inside.
  • Keep the sidewalks cleared.
  • Mow the lawn.
  • Paint faded window trim.
  • Trim your bushes.
  • Make sure visitors can clearly read your house number

Online Sleuthing for Homebuyers


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A Monthly Newsletter from Sheila Barrett

The web has helped homebuyers find places to live for years, but a number of sites have emerged that provided a raft of information beyond price, location and photos.

Comparison Shopping

Trulia.com and Zillow.com will show you just about any type of information about a house. Users can enter a city, town or zip code and see a listing of every home for sale, sort by price, address, number of bedrooms or bathrooms, broker or type of home.

What the Neighbors Say

Other sites are designed to give users a look at neighborhoods through the eyes of the people who live there. On StreetAdvisor.com based in Melbourne, Australia, buyers can look for input from residents of a particular street, about their neighbors, local services and more.

Is It Green

Several sites cater to concerns about energy efficiency and the environment. Walkscore.com rates the walkability of a neighborhood by the proximity of stores, restaurants, schools, parks, libraries and more. At EnergyStar.gov users can find builders working with the EPA to build homes that meet the government’s Energy Star standards for energy efficiency.

Schools

GreatSchools.net and SchoolMatters.com give information for public and private schools, including test sores, student ethnicity, student-teacher ratios and spending per pupil. Parents can rate schools for principal leadership, teacher quality, extracurricular activities, parent involvement, safety and discipline.
Source: The Real Estate Journal

Interactive maps for Kentucky and Louisville Metro

Metro Mapper is an online news organization that provides interactive maps for the Louisville Metro area and Kentucky free of charge for residents and visitors. Interactive maps include sex offender, crime, restaurant, historic site, traffic cam, and real estate maps.


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