Episode 2 – Tax Tips, CNBC Market Challenge and Financial Hosts with the Most (not)
In this episode Andrew discusses some important tax tips that can help you save some money on your 2006 return. In this post is a list of the specific items mentioned in the podcast. Also discussed is the CNBC Market Challenge that has been heavily publicized.
The CNBC Market Challenge began Monday March 4th and has over 500,000 participants. With a weekly prize of $10,000 and a grand prize of $1,000,000, there is sure to be some excitement. BUT, the way that the contest is being run does not create a real trading environment. More is discussed about the failure of the challenge to meet expectations. Even so, Andrew has ended up in the top 1% for the week (yes the TOP 1%)
Finally, Andrew looks at the new wave of market reporters that haver become overnight experts and stars. In a dramatic shift, the people who report have become the ones that are being listened to for advice. Take a look back at the 2000 market when Jim Cramer (of Mad Money Fame) spoke to a group in New York about the new economy and the top ten stocks to own. Actual audio from the speech is included and discussed. Amazing, but true!
Articles and Link mentioned in this Podcast Episode
IRS Has $2.2 Billion for People Who Have Not Filed a 2003 Tax Return
• Today the IRS announced that they have more than $2.2 billion for about 1.8 million people that did not file a federal income tax return in 2003.
• The IRS claims that half of those who could claim refunds would receive more than $611.
• Some taxpayers may also be eligible for the refundable Earned Income Tax Credit
• In cases where a return was not filed, the law provides most taxpayers with a three-year window of opportunity for claiming a refund. If no return is filed to claim the refund within three years, the money becomes property of the U.S. Treasury.
The Free File program is a free federal tax preparation and electronic filing program for eligible taxpayers developed through a partnership between the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Free File Alliance LLC, a group of private sector tax software companies. Since Free File’s debut in 2003, more than 15.4 million returns have been prepared and e-filed through the program. Free File allows taxpayers with an Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) of $52,000 or less in 2006 to e-file their federal tax returns for free. That means 70 percent of all taxpayers – 95 million taxpayers – can take advantage of the Free File program.
Telephone Excise Tax Refund
The Telephone Excise Tax Refund (TETR) is a one-time payment available on your 2006 federal income tax return. It is designed to refund previously collected long distance telephone taxes. Individuals, businesses and tax-exempt organizations are eligible to request it.
Taxpayers have a choice: a standard refund amount between $30 and $60, based on the total number of exemptions claimed on their 2006 tax return, to eliminate the need to locate old phone bills; or they can locate those bills and use the actual amount.
More Important Links
• For 2006, the maximum HSA deduction increased to $2,700 ($5,450 for family coverage). The maximum additional deduction for individuals age 55 or older increased to $700.
• You may be eligible for two new credits, the nonbusiness energy property credit and the residential energy efficient property credit, for making energy saving improvements to your home in 2006.
Nonbusiness energy property credit. You may be able to take a credit equal to the sum of:
• 10% of the amount paid or incurred for qualified energy efficiency improvements installed during 2006, and
• Any residential energy property costs paid or incurred in 2006.
Qualified energy efficiency improvements. Qualified energy efficiency improvements are the following building envelope components installed on or in your main home located in the United States if these components are new and can be expected to remain in use for at least 5 years.
• Any insulation material or system that is specifically and primarily designed to reduce the heat loss or gain of a home when installed in or on such home.
• Exterior windows (including certain storm windows and skylights).
• Exterior doors (including certain storm doors).
• Any metal roof installed on a home, but only if this roof has appropriate pigmented coatings which are specifically and primarily designed to reduce the heat gain of the home.
You may be able to deduct qualified tuition and fees paid during the year for yourself, your spouse, or your dependent. This provision, which had expired for tax years after 2005, has been extended through tax year 2007.
Who can claim the deduction. You can take this deduction only if all of the following apply.
• You paid qualified tuition and fees in 2006 for yourself, your spouse, or your dependent(s).
• Your filing status is any status except married filing separately.
• Your modified adjusted gross income (AGI) is not more than: $80,000 if single, head of household, or qualifying widow(er); $160,000 if married filing jointly. Use lines 1 through 3 of the Tuition and Fees Deduction Worksheet to figure your modified AGI. You, or your spouse if filing jointly, cannot be claimed as a dependent on someone’s (such as your parent’s) 2006 tax return.
• You are not claiming an education credit for the same student. See the instructions for Form 8863.
• You were a U.S. citizen or resident alien for all of 2005 or you were a nonresident alien for any part of 2006 and you are filing a joint return.