Tuesday, February 26, 2008

What you need to know about tax stimulus payments

Fellow Gate City Rotarian and helpful friend Darlene Leonard, C.P.A., of Smith Leonard, PLLC, shared this important heads up:

If you have elderly friends or relatives, let them know that they will need to file a tax return for 2007 in order to be eligible for the stimulus refund payment of $300 for individuals or $600 for a couple.

To be sure there are many elderly folks out there who do not file a return simply because they are only receiving social security benefits or have minimal income.

But they won’t get their stimulus refund payments unless they file a tax return. And unless someone like you tells them, they’re not likely to know, so here’s what you need to know:

If you normally don't have to file a tax return but have enough in qualifying income to receive a stimulus payment, more information is available in Fact Sheet 2008-16. If you qualify, all you need to do is fill out Form 1040A in a few places. A sample version of Form 1040A illustrates which lines to fill out. Click this link for a 2007 Form 1040-A (PDF) U.S. Individual Income Tax Return and click this link for instructions 2007 Inst 1040-A (PDF) Instructions. Pretty easy, huh?

Now hear this: The only guarantee I can make is that my Chief Compliance Officer will totally freak out if I do not make the following disclosure, so here goes:

Neither Jonathan Smith & Co. nor any of it’s employees (this writer included) is qualified to give tax advice, therefore nothing in or about this message, including any external internet links, shall be construed as tax advice, or for that matter, investment advice. If you need assistance, for goodness sakes, you should contact a qualified tax professional. Like the warning label on my father's chainsaw, Do Not Sharpen Saw While Motor Running, you could get hurt and you could hurt someone else if you don't know what you're doing.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Overvalued or Undervalued?

The Power of Whimsy
Published: February 17, 2008

By one rough estimate, Sandra Boynton has sold around a half-billion cards, which may make her one of the best-selling card creators of all time.

Within the first four paragraphs these words leapt off the page:

“I don’t do things differently to be different; I do what works for me,” she says. “To me, the commodity that we consistently overvalue is money, and what we undervalue is our precious and irreplaceable time. Though, of course, to the extent that money can save you time or make it easier to accomplish things, it’s a wonderful thing.”

And once again, I was reminded why people keep coming to Jonathan Smith & Co. Click here to read the full story.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Legacy of the 1936 Election

Wonder why the candidates seem so confused? Amy Shlaes writes, "WHAT MAKES the current field of candidates so timid? It is clear listening to figures from both parties this year that they still believe Social Security is untouchable. This despite the fact that bringing Social Security into solvency is a relatively easy task. When it comes to the more serious fiscal burdens upon our grandchildren, the candidates are likewise timid. This despite the fact that those burdens only become heavier as we delay. We speak of 2008 as an election year, but it is also the year when the tide of Social Security cash begins to recede with the retirement of Baby Boomers. But where is the origin of the problem? Traditionally historians have focused on the slow rise of American progressivism over the past century and a half. I’m going to do something different, and undertake an almost artificial exercise. Here I will compress history and argue that this destructive hesitation comes out of a single political campaign, the presidential campaign of 1936. This campaign marked the virtual end of old-fashioned American federalism and the rise of a new kind of politics. It was 1936 more than any other campaign that created modern interest groups and taught us that Washington should subsidize them. Pinning blame on a single campaign (and its run up) may seem facile. Still, the story is well worth telling." Click Imprimis.