Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Predatory Lenders in Chesterfield County

Here is a copy of an email distributed by the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy.

Speak Up and Help Keep Predatory Lenders in check in Chesterfield County!

Many of you have seen the story about the hearing on Chesterfield’s proposed zoning ordinance up for public hearing this week. On Wednesday our county leaders will be considering whether to impose some of the most strict local ordinance measures on predatory lenders or leave them take advantage of the most vulnerable, bring down property values, and encourage crime in the process. Please help put in place strict measures on predatory lenders at this critical local level!

All eyes are on Chesterfield as other localities wish to put in place similar restrictions, but want to know that the public is behind them. Show your support for these restrictions  by coming out at 6:30pm on Wednesday January 9th to tell the Board of Supervisors that these restrictions are not only necessary, but that you expect them to put them in place because this is everything in their power to restrict predatory businesses that push families into bankruptcy and foreclosure, leaving neighborhoods less safe and without substantial business investment.

What: Public Hearing on the Proposed Regulation to Alternative Financial Institutions

When: Wednesday January 9th at 6:30PM. This policy is the only item on the public hearing agenda, so we need as many folks as possible to speak! I will be there with fact sheets at 6PM and will be happy to answer additional questions as you prepare to speak.

Where: Public Meeting Room, 10001 Iron Bridge Road, Chesterfield, VA 23832
If you can’t come out, please consider emailing or calling your board of supervisor member before the public hearing. Click here  to see who your supervisor is; and then click here  to find their contact information. Ask your Supervisor to vote YES on the proposal related to Alternative Financial Institutions.

As are all my posts to my blog, I alone am responsible for the content of this one. It should clear to the most casual reader that I speak for myself in these posts, not for anyone else, not for any organization or entity whether I'm a member of that organization or not.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Individual Tax Provisions of the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012

Here are some of the tax provisions of the ATR which affect individuals.

Permanent Provisions

Alternative Minimum Tax fix - The higher exclusion amount that has been effect for several years was restored for tax year 2012 and made permanent. Starting in 2013, the exclusion amount will increase as the Consumer Price Index (CPI) increases.

Bush era tax brackets (limited) - For married couples with income* of $450,000 or less, the maximum tax bracket continues to be 35%. For married couples making more in 2013, the top bracket is now 39.6%. After 2013, the threshold amount is indexed to changes in the CPI. (For heads of household, single taxpayers and married taxpayers filing separate tax returns, the threshold amounts are $425,000, $400,000 and $225,000 respectively.)

Phase out of personal exemptions and itemized deductions eliminated
- For married couples with income of $300,000 or less, reduction in personal exemptions and itemized deductions is permanently eliminated. Again, the threshold amount is indexed to changes in the CPI. (For heads of household, single taxpayers and married taxpayers filing separate tax returns, the threshold amounts are $275000, $250,000 and $150,000 respectively.)

Estate Tax modified - The maximum estate tax rate is set at 40%. The exclusion amount for an estate is $5,000,000 in 2012 and indexed to the CPI beginning in 2013.

15% maximum tax rate on long term capital gains and qualified dividends (limited)
- The maximum tax rate for these income items goes to 20% for taxpayers to the extent they have income in the 39.6% bracket.

"Marriage Penalty" Relief - The provisions providing relief for married couples with similar amounts of income, including standard deductions and tax brackets are made permanent. Note that about one third of married couples enjoyed a "marriage bonus" even without these provisions and another third had no significant penalty or bonus.

Expanded Coverdell Education Savings Accounts - Maximum annual contribution of $2,000 made permanent. Use of distributions to pay K-12 costs made permanent.

Employer-provided Educational Assistance - This provision, which allows employers to reimburse  up to $5,250 per year of an employee's qualified education costs with the employer getting a tax deduction and the employee having no increase in taxable income, is made permanent.

2001 Modifications of Child Tax Credit - The $1,000 credit amount is made permanent. Expansion of refundability is made permanent.


2003 Modifications of Child Tax Credit - Even greater expansion of refundability of this credit is extended five years through December 31, 2017.

American Opportunity Tax Credit - This education credit is extended five years to December 31, 2017.

Deduction of qualified tuition expenses - The above-the-line deduction for tuition is extended to December 31, 2013. This benefit phases out for higher income levels. It provides a deduction whether the taxpayer itemizes or not.

Deduction for certain expenses of elementary and secondary school teachers - The provision allowing classroom teachers to deduct above-the-line up to $250 of out of pocket costs for classroom supplies is extended to December 31, 2013. ("Above-the-line" means teachers get the deduction whether they itemize or not.)

Mortgage debt forgiveness - The provision allowing up to $2,000,000 of mortgage debt forgiveness to be excluded from taxation is extended to December 31, 2013.

Mortgage insurance deduction - The deductibility of mortgage insurance premiums as if they were mortgage interest is extended to December 31, 2013.

Option to deduct state/local sales taxes instead of income taxes - Of benefit mainly to taxpayers living in state with no individual income tax, the provisions has been extended to December 31, 2013.

Tax-free distributions from individual retirement plans for charitable purposes - This provision is of benefit to taxpayers who would otherwise not itemize their deductions and to taxpayers would otherwise be subject to phase-out of other tax benefits due to higher adjusted gross income. It has been extended to December 31, 2013.

There are other less commonly useful individual provisions and a many business tax provisions in the bill.