Archive for the tag 'tips'

West Nile DOH map

The city Department of Health will be spraying mosquito-killing pesticides throughout parts of our neighborhood tonight, between 8:15pm and 6am – which was supposed to happen last week but ended up being canceled because of the rain, according to a DOH spokeswoman.

The area to be sprayed is shaded yellow on the map above, although it’s only an approximation.

Here’s a .pdf from the city detailing the spraying, and here’s more information about the West Nile Virus.

And, to prepare yourself for tonight, check out the suggestions we detailed last week about what to do to protect yourself, including staying indoors and closing air conditioner vents.

doh-map

The Department of Health is warning residents of the Sheepshead Bay area that they will be spraying pesticides throughout parts of the neighborhood tomorrow night, between 8:15 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.

The area to be sprayed is shaded yellow on the map above, although it’s only an approximation.

Like any time a government sprays a bunch of toxic crap in the air, they’re saying the chemical used – Anvil 10+10 – has no known risk to humans. But it’s The Man, man, so here are a couple of things you should do to make sure you stay safe and don’t grow an arm out of your butt (tips courtesy of The Man, not guaranteed to be 100 percent effective):

  • Stay indoors whenever possible during that time period – especially if you have asthma or respiratory issues.
  • Close the vents on your air-conditioner and set it to recirculate.
  • Remove toys, equipment and clothing from outdoor areas. If you leave them out there, make sure to wash them with soap before using them.
  • If you have an outdoor garden, wash your produce thoroughly before eating it.

Here’s a .pdf from the city detailing the spraying and safety tips, and here’s the city’s webpage for West Nile Virus.

Source: rjppapa / Flickr

Source: rjppapa / Flickr

Telling Tips is a series of articles from local experts to help you save money, make better decisions and plan for a better future.

Valentine’s Day is tomorrow. A nice present would be getting that pesky tax return completed — and hopefully a large refund. Hint, hint, hint. But until then, here are some useful Q&As that will come in handy this snowy Tax Preparation Season.

Medical Deductions

Question: I recently had a heart attack. Can I deduct the diet I now have to follow?

Answer: Here are a few ‘yes’ and ‘no’ deductions:

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Source: alancleaver_2000/Flick

Telling Tips is a series of articles from local experts to help you save money, make better decisions and plan for a better future.

Well, it’s Tax Preparation Season, and I know y’all youse all of you are as excited about tax season as I am. And it really isn’t as bad as the dentist. Marketwatch.com reported that tax compliance takes 6.1 billion hours a year. How much time do you take to prepare, or prepare for, your tax return? Remember, no software package is a substitute for knowledge of the Tax Code, and no tax software package is a substitute for a competent, experienced tax professional.

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A 1953 postage stamp for a mere three pennies. Those were the days, my friend. Source: U.S. Embassy The Hague / Flickr

A 1953 postage stamp for a mere three pennies. Source: U.S. Embassy The Hague / Flickr

Telling Tips is a series of articles from local experts to help you save money, make better decisions and plan for a better future.

Guess what? The cost of a stamp increased. Again. First class increased from 46 cents to 49 cents, and postcards increased from 33 cents to 34 cents. Also, the New York State minimum wage increased from $7.25 to $8 an hour and, of course, tax rates increased and benefits decreased.

Welcome to 2014.

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Source: 132Photography / Etsy

Source: 132Photography / Etsy

Telling Tips is a series of articles from local experts to help you save money, make better decisions and plan for a better future.

Can 2013 be described as in “A Tale of Two Cities” by Charles Dickens? “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair…”

Let’s make 2014 a better year by (1) filing a week earlier than you did last year, and (2) by calling me right after April to start the important financial planning that’s been on the back burner for so long.

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Source: Ervins Strauhmanis/Flickr

It appears New York City is testing out a new program to put money back in the pockets of low income earners, offering up to $2,000 a year for the next three years.

Paycheck Plus is a program sponsored by the NYC Center for Economic Opportunity, and offers enrollees a 50-50 chance of receiving up to $2,000 after filing taxes. The qualifications are pretty straightforward:

  • File taxes as a single adult
  • Do not claim children on your tax return
  • Earned less than $30,000 in the past year from work or self-employment or if you were unemployed
  • Are age 21 to 64
  • Have a social security number
  • Live in New York City

To get enrolled, you can call the Food Bank Paycheck Plus Program at (646) 981-6111.

The program is modeled after the the federal Earned Income Tax Credit, which provides up to $6,000 a year to low-income working families. The problem with the EITC is that, while it helps families out of the ruts, it doesn’t do much for single tax filers, who can only receive a maximum of $487.

A fact sheet on Paycheck Plus calls the EITC “the most successful antipoverty program in the U.S.” for families, and the Paycheck Plus program is built to translate that success to low earning single people in New York City.

The three-year pilot program will offer participants up to $2,000 a year from 2015 to 2017. To measure its success, they’re now signing up 6,000 participants, with 3,000 to receive the benefits and another 3,000 to serve as a control group, and will be checking in on them throughout the pilot program.

Update (10:50 a.m.): The program’s webpage was updated after this post was written, noting that they’re now particularly interested in applicants with children under the age of 19 who do not live with them.

Source: Anonymistake / Flickr

Source: Anonymistake / Flickr

Telling Tips is a series of articles from local experts to help you save money, make better decisions and plan for a better future.

In my office, I consider tax preparation as the completion of a tax return that not only follows all current tax laws, but also allows the taxpayer to pay the least possible tax. All returns are subject to applicable due diligence. You will also be advised as to legal strategies to reduce your tax liabilities and plan for changes to your tax situations. I adhere to the New York City Consumer Bill of Rights, and the Code of Ethics of the various tax and accounting organizations to which I belong.

Important: If you are claiming the Earned Income Credit, expect to be asked for more proof that you are eligible. Review the items in IRS form 8867, Part V. The IRS is assessing tax preparers a $500 penalty if we can’t prove your eligibility.

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Source: Gabriel Serafini / Flickr

Source: Gabriel Serafini / Flickr

Telling Tips is a series of articles from local experts to help you save money, make better decisions and plan for a better future.

Happy New Year! I hope your holiday season was happy, and I wish you and yours a healthy and prosperous 2014.

Well, here it is, the first full week of 2014. It’s back to work, and back to taxes. Have you started assembling your 2014 tax info yet? No, well don’t feel bad, I haven’t either. Remember though, a journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step; so too, the journey to complete your tax return starts with your first headache.

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Source: MathManDan / Flickr

Source: MathManDan / Flickr

Telling Tips is a series of articles from local experts to help you save money, make better decisions and plan for a better future.

To the tune of “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas.”

It’s beginning to look a lot like Tax Time,

Everywhere you go.

Take a look in the tax pro’s den, stuffed so full once again,

With year-end tips all filers need to know.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Tax Time,

April’s just months away.

But the smartest move to make is the tax break you can take

Before New Year’s Day.

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