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from Local Attorney, Michael H. Wasserman

Thursday, December 17, 2009

CHICAGO PROPERTY TAX ASSISTANCE GRANTS - HOW TO CLAIM YOURS

Anyone out there interested in a Visa Check Card loaded with money? Did I mention that it is free? A gift, from the City of Chicago?

Our fair City is offering checks of up to $200 to help offset the costs of higher property tax bills to qualifying homeowners. Here are the details:

To be eligible, homeowners must have
  1. a principal residence in the City of Chicago,
  2. make $200,000 a year or less, and
  3. an increase in their 2008 property tax bill, when measured against the 2007 tax.

The amount of "tax relief" is based on a combination of income level and the size of the your property tax increase. This chart breaks it down:


Anyone who wants to apply for a taxpayer relief grant must
  1. Complete the application
  2. Attach a copy of his or her 2008 tax bill
  3. Attach a photocopy of a government-issued photo I.D. that shows the same home address.
Relief checks will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis, and applications will be taken until March 31, 2010. The City anticipates processing times of six to eight weeks.

That said, I suggest that you to get your application in as quickly as possible...

Do let me know if you have any questions about this program or if you need help determining your eligibility.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Encouraging Everyone to Use Protection....

If you use Adobe Acrobat programs, take a quick moment to fiddle with the settings and turn javascripts off. there seems to be a new virus going around..... ok, maybe its not a virus; it is being called an "exploit" and a "vulnerability," and i am not in a good position to know the differences or distinctions of any of them. What I do know is that pdf formated documents play a hugh role in the residential real estate process, and none of us really want (or can afford) to have to deal with this sort of thing.

details here:

ComputerWorld

ZD Net

Shadowserver

Adobe's own "Product Security Incident Response Team"

Seems easy enough to protect yourself from this one - at least until someone gets around to fixing the problem.

Monday, December 7, 2009

IRS Providing New Guidance, Forms, to Claim the 1st Time Home Buyers Tax Credit

A new IRS bulletin, released just before Thanksgiving is offering new details that should clarify many of recurring questions about the First Time Homebuyers Tax Credit.

The most important takeaway in that bulletin however is that anyone who closed on their purchase after November 6, intending to claim the tax credit better wait a couple-three weeks until the IRS releases a newly revised Form 5405.

Critical details released last month:

CO-OWNERSHIP SITUATIONS
  • an otherwise qualifying unmarried individual who purchases a home together with someone who does not, can claim the full $8,000 credit.
  • an otherwise qualifying son or daughter who purchases a home with parents who do not qualify can also claim the entire $8,000 credit.
PURCHASE PRICE,INCOME, & AGE LIMITATIONS
  • Single taxpayers earning up to $125,000 in "modified adjusted gross income" and joint filers earning up to $225,000 qualify for full tax credit benefits (up from $75,000/150,000).
  • Singles filers with incomes between $125,000 and $145,000 and joint filers with incomes from $225,000 to $245,000 may be eligible for reduced credits.
  • Purchases cannot cost more than $800,000. This is an uncompromising, "off the cliff" threshold.
  • No one under age 18 can claim the credit, under any circumstances.
  • No one who can be treated as a dependent on anyone else's federal tax filing is eligible for the credit.
ARMED FORCES / DIPLOMAT EXTENSION
  • Members of the armed forces, diplomats, & intelligence personnel serving in foreign countries will get an extra 12 months to buy a home and still qualify for the credit.