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Archive | March, 2014

IRS has $760 Million in unclaimed refunds for 2010

 

 

WASHINGTON — Refunds totaling almost $760 million may be waiting for an estimated 918,600 taxpayers who did not file a federal income tax return for 2010, the Internal Revenue Service announced today. However, to collect the money, a return for 2010 must be filed with the IRS no later than Tuesday, April 15, 2014.

“The window is quickly closing for people who are owed refunds from 2010 who haven’t filed a tax return,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “We encourage students, part-time workers and others who haven’t filed for 2010 to look into this before time runs out on April 15.”

The IRS estimates that half the potential refunds for 2010 are more than $571.

Some people may not have filed because they had too little income to require filing a tax return even though they had taxes withheld from their wages or made quarterly estimated payments. 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 a refund within three years, the money becomes property of the U.S. Treasury.

For 2010 returns, the window closes on April 15, 2014. The law requires that the return be properly addressed, mailed and postmarked by that date. There is no penalty for filing a late return qualifying for a refund.

The IRS reminds taxpayers seeking a 2010 refund that their checks may be held if they have not filed tax returns for 2011 and 2012. In addition, the refund will be applied to any amounts still owed to the IRS or their state tax agency, and may be used to offset unpaid child support or past due federal debts such as student loans.

By failing to file a return, people stand to lose more than just their refund of taxes withheld or paid during 2010. In addition, many low-and-moderate income workers may not have claimed the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). For 2010, the credit is worth as much as $5,666. The EITC helps individuals and families whose incomes are below certain thresholds. The thresholds for 2010 were:

• $43,352 ($48,362 if married filing jointly) for those with three or more qualifying children;

• $40,363 ($45,373 if married filing jointly) for people with two qualifying children;

• $35,535 ($40,545 if married filing jointly) for those with one qualifying child;

• and $13,460 ($18,470 if married filing jointly) for people without qualifying children.

Current and prior year tax forms and instructions are available on the Forms and Publications page of IRS.gov or by calling toll-free 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676). Taxpayers who are missing Forms W-2, 1098, 1099 or 5498 for 2010, 2011 or 2012 should request copies from their employer, bank or other payer.

If these efforts are unsuccessful, taxpayers can get a free transcript showing information from these year-end documents by going to IRS.gov. Taxpayers can also file Form 4506-T to request a transcript of their tax return.

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Home office deduction features simpler option

 

 

If you work from home, you should learn the rules for how to claim the home office deduction. Starting this year, there is a simpler option to figure the deduction for business use of your home.

The new option will save you time because it simplifies how you figure and claim the deduction. It will also make it easier for you to keep records. It does not change the rules for who may claim the deduction.

Here are six facts from the IRS about the home office deduction.

1. Generally, in order to claim a deduction for a home office, you must use a part of your home exclusively and regularly for business purposes. Also, the part of your home used for business must be: your principal place of business, or a place where you meet clients or customers in the normal course of business, or a separate structure not attached to your home. Examples might include a studio, garage or barn.

2. If you use the actual expense method, the home office deduction includes certain costs that you paid for your home. For example, if you rent your home, part of the rent you paid could qualify. If you own your home, part of the mortgage interest, taxes and utilities you paid could qualify. The amount you can deduct usually depends on the percentage of your home used for business.

3. Beginning with 2013 tax returns, you may be able to use the simplified option to claim the home office deduction instead of claiming actual expenses. Under this method, you multiply the allowable square footage of your office by a prescribed rate of $5. The maximum footage allowed is 300 square feet. The deduction limit using this method is $1,500 per year.

4. If your gross income from the business use of your home is less than your expenses, the deduction for some expenses may be limited.

5. If you are self-employed and choose the actual expense method, use Form 8829, Expenses for Business Use of Your Home, to figure the amount you can deduct. You claim your deduction on Schedule C, Profit or Loss From Business, if you use either the simplified or actual expense method. See the Schedule C instructions for how to report your deduction.

6. If you are an employee, you must meet additional rules to claim the deduction. For example, in addition to the above tests, your business use must also be for your employer’s convenience.

For more on this topic, see Publication 587, Business Use of Your Home. It’s available at IRS.gov or by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).

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Volunteers needed for Resurrection Celebration

ENT-ResurrectionCelebration-logo-2Resurrection Celebration, a Cedar Springs community production celebrating the good news of the Easter story, is back for 2014 and is still in need of volunteers. We would love to have you join us! There are many positions to fill, including men, women and families to be part of the Biblical crowd scenes, ushers, childcare workers and food coordinators. The shows will be April 19 at 2 and 7 p.m. at Cedar Springs High School. If you would like to help out in some way, meet at The Springs Church, 135 N. Grant Street, this Sunday, March 30, from 2-4 p.m. or contact Cherryl and Jan at resurrectioncelebration@outlook.com.

 

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April Fools Day Office Pranks

 

1. Ring your friend before he / she goes to work and say “I’m so sorry to hear you got fired !” – Act surprised they didn’t know yet.

2. Use a 3M Post-it note placed underneath someone’s computer mouse – ensure that it covers the ball or the optical sensor on the bottom. When they go to use the mouse, it won’t work! On the 3M Post-it simply write April Fool!

3. Advertise your bosses job in the local newspaper (Great if you want to get fired !).

 

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Hometown Happenings

Hometown Happenings articles are a community service for non-profit agencies only. Due to popular demand for placement in this section, we can no longer run all articles. Deadline for articles is Monday at 5 p.m. This is not guaranteed space. Articles will run as space allows. Guaranteed placement is $10, certain restrictions may apply. You now can email your Hometown Happenings to happenings@cedarspringspost.com please include name and phone number for any questions we may have.

Free meal at OLC Family Center

Apr. 3,17: God’s Kitchen North welcomes Northern Kent County families to join us for an evening meal on Thursday, April 3rd & April 17th. No charge – No registration required. Served from 6-7 p.m. at Our Lady of Consolation Family Center, 4865 11 Mile Rd. NE in Rockford.  #13

 

Giant Book Sale

Apr. 3-5: The Sand Lake/Nelson Township Library Book sale will be held April 3-5 at the Sand Lak VFW Hall. There are 50 tables of books, CD’s, magazines and more at great prices. Thursday, April 3 from 10 am to 7 pm, Friday, April 4 from 10 am to 7 pm, and Saturday, April 5 from 10 am to 2 pm. There will be a $2 bag sale on Saturday. #13

 

Tom Plunkard: Beyond Magic – Show and Workshop

Apr. 9: Prepare to be astounded! Stick around after the show for a short workshop on how to perform some of his tricks. For all ages. Wednesday, April 9 at 6:30 pm at the Sand Lake/Nelson Township KDL Branch, 88 Eighth St. #13

 

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Final candidates for superintendent

red hawkAfter interviewing five candidates for the Superintendent position last week, the Cedar Springs Board of Education narrowed down their choice to two candidates–Assistant Superintentdent David Cairy, and Laura VanDuyne, executive director of a special education consortium in Concord, California.

Final interviews will be on Wednesday, March 26, in the Hilltop Boardroom, with Cairy at 6 p.m. and VanDuyne at 7:30 p.m.

On Monday evening, March 24,  the Board will do “site” visits to get a better idea of each candidate. Each candidate will select a team of people that they work with (administrators, staff, parents) to be present to be interviewed by the board. The board will ask those people questions to get a better snapshot of the candidate. Since VanDuyne is from California, her team will interviewed via Skype. Cairy’s team will be interviewed at 5 p.m. and VanDuyne’s at 6 p.m. Both are open to the public.

Final details of the process will be outlined by the board at their regular meeting, which follows at 7 p.m.

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Go ahead given on recall petitions

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Cedar Springs resident Mark Laws can begin collecting the signatures he needs to recall City Council members Ashley Bremmer and Patricia Troost. The two councilors had 10 days to appeal the decision of the Kent County Election Commission, who approved the language on the petitions 2-1. But they opted not to appeal this time, and are instead leaving it in the hands of the voters.

The recall petition language reads:

1) On July 11, 2013 Ashley Bremmer/Patrica Troost voted to go into a closed session, to hear complaints against council member Truesdale. The Open Meetings Act 267, 15.268, 8a allows for a closed session if it is requested by the person to be disciplined or reprimanded. Council member Truesdale made no such request.

2.  On November 14, 2013 Ashley Bremmer/Patricia Troost voted to change the city logo and tagline. For many years it has been procedure of the council to not take action on an item not previously on agenda for public input and comment. This change in the logo and tagline was not presented to the public for input or comment before the change was made.

While Bob Truesdale voted with the rest of the council to go into closed session for that July 11 meeting to hear complaints against him by the council, he says he was unaware of his rights. During a special meeting in December, he alluded to the previous meeting and noted that it was illegal for the council not to explain to him when they took him into closed session that he could call it off anytime. “Some of you really pounded on me,” he said, “and I said nothing in my defense.”

At  last Thursday’s City Council meeting, the council voted 6-1 to authorize City Manager Thad Taylor and their attorney to investigate whether anything illegal did occur regarding the July meeting. An outside agency will need to investigate the matter.

The second complaint on the petition refers to the new logo for the City of Cedar Springs, and the complaint is that the public did not get to see or comment on the logo before it was voted on.

According to Kent County Elections Director Sue deStiguer, the recall law has changed drastically, and the Cedar Springs recall will be the first test of the law since it went into effect in January.

The language on the petitions is good for 6 months from the date it was approved—March 7. However, the signatures (170 of them) must be gathered within a 60-day window. It used to be 90 days. “Any signature older than 60 days is automatically stricken,” explained deStiguer.  The amount of signatures needed is based on 25 percent of the votes cast in the last presidential election.

Another change is that there will be no justification or explanation from the defendant (the council members) on the petition. The language will be as you see above.

A local recall can now only go on a May or November ballot, where previously it could go on the February or August ballot.

The ballot will also look differently. It will say recall election partial term ending, and the two candidates will automatically be on the ballot as running to fill that term. And that may be confusing for some people. “If the voter wants them to complete the term, they vote for them,” she explained.

 

 

 

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Pollock brothers named honorary grand marshals for festival

Bill (left) and Bob (right) Pollock are honorary grand marshals of this year’s Red Flannel Festival.

Bill (left) and Bob (right) Pollock are honorary grand marshals of this year’s Red Flannel Festival.

If there is a name other than Nina Babcock or Grace Hamilton that is closely associated with the original Red Flannel Day, it would have to be John (Jack) Pollock. He was the owner of the dry goods store that sold red flannels way back in 1936, when the writer at the New York Sun wrote that red flannels couldn’t be found anywhere. And so it would only be fitting that his two sons—William (Bill) and Bob Pollock—have been named honorary grand marshals for the 75th celebration.

Bill and Bob are the surviving sons of Jack and Ann Pollock, and grandsons of Pearl and William Pollock, the founders and operators of Pollock’s, The Original Red Flannel Store. Jack, Ann, and Pearl were all on the board of directors of the first Red Flannel Club, established in 1940. The directors of the club were chosen from those who were actively engaged in business in the community.

“This is such an important, historic year for the Festival, we wanted to honor the first families of the original Red Flannel Festival Board,” said Michele Tracy-Andres, Festival President.

Bill, Bob and their late older brother, John (Mac) grew up in Pollock’s Store.  In their house, Red Flannel Day was second only to Christmas. They helped build and rode on Red Flannel Day floats from the age of four. Bill and Bob have carried on that tradition by entering a Pollock’s float in the 2011 parade. They also recently purchased a license from Life Magazine to the full page color photo of their dad and a hundred school children dressed in red that appeared in Life Magazine on December 19, 1949. A framed copy of the photo was donated by Bill to the Cedar Springs Historical Society Museum in Morley Park where it is on display. Bill also narrated the “Under the Radar” television show for the RFF in 2012 and both are great advocates of the Festival.

Bill told the Post that they are thrilled to have this opportunity.

“The entire Pollock family is extremely grateful to the Red Flannel Festival Board of Directors for designating us as Honorary Grand Marshals. Bob and I humbly accept this honor on behalf of the Red Flannel pioneers that preceded us including our grandparents, William and Pearl, our parents, Jack and Ann, our aunt, June Allchin and her sons, Skip and Mike…not to mention the hundreds of Red Flannel Town residents who worked at Pollock’s Store over its 60 year history such as Don Koster, Lil Meyers, Libby Hanna, Clara Gust, Spud Ensing, and many, many more. We are eagerly looking forward to participating in the 75th Diamond Anniversary Festival.”

Bill graduated from Cedar Springs High School in 1963, the University of Notre Dame in 1967 and holds an MBA from the George Washington University.  He is a retired U.S Navy Captain and corporate vice president. He and his wife, Gisela, travel full-time in their motor home.

Bob attended Cedar Springs High School until he moved to Kalamazoo in 1966. He is a 1969 graduate of Monsignor Hackett High School where he lettered in football and tennis. Bob graduated from Western Michigan University in 1974. He is retired from a career in human resources and real estate/property management. He lives in Parchment, Michigan.

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Founders Day celebration next weekend

Music is back for this year’s Founders Day, along with several other events. Post photo by J. Reed.

Music is back for this year’s Founders Day, along with several other events. Post photo by J. Reed.

March 28-29

Cedar Springs was officially recognized as a village 143 years ago, on March 18, 1871. And that’s something worth celebrating.

The Cedar Springs Area Chamber of Commerce invites young and old alike to come out and help celebrate that special event with the second annual Founder’s Day weekend, March 28-29. There will be something for everyone!

The event kicks off Friday with a new addition—a children’s street fair from 4-7 p.m. at the tent on the corner of Main and Ash Streets. From 4 to 5:30 p.m. there will be music, a balloon man, and face painting; from 5:30 to 5:45 will be storytelling by Post editor Judy Reed; from 6 to 6:30 ventriloquist/magician Charles Mabie will entertain the kids. There will also be carnival games and other events going on during the entire three hours such as ring toss, beanbag toss, duck pond, bucket bonanza, crafts, a log cabin to play in, a real lumberjack, model trains, wooden train sets, and a petting zoo courtesy of Double K Farms and 4H.

Saturday has more in store. The Cedar Springs Public Library will host pioneer crafts and storytelling from 10 to 1 p.m. at the Library. The Cedar Springs Historical Museum will be open from 11 to 3 p.m., and host several different presentations at the museum as well.

392828_614001431948730_1727882393_nThe Saturday evening free concert is back at the Ash Street tent from 4-10 p.m. and all ages are welcome. This year’s concert features the bands Signal Trip and the Youz Guyz Band. Food will be available to purchase from The Grilling Company and will feature pulled pork, brisket, and sides. Beer (including a local craft beer) and hard ciders will also be available to purchase.

Chamber president Shawn Kiphart said that they called the future Cedar Springs Brewing Company first (a business coming to the area in the future) to see if they would be available to supply the beer, but they are not yet ready. “We look forward to using them at a future event,” he noted.

For questions about the event, call Kiphart at (616) 773-5126.

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Let the sun shine in

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We may be enjoying some much-need outdoor sunshine this week, but we are also celebrating sunshine of another kind. March 16-22 is being celebrated as “Sunshine Week” across the nation. Sunshine week is a week dedicated to shining a light on the importance of freedom of information, transparency and openness in government.

In this week’s paper, stories marked with a sunshine week emblem show that they were made possible through the Freedom of Information Act or Open Meetings Act. We hope this will bring awareness to how much we depend on an open, honest government.

It is important that citizens participate in our local government meetings and exercise their right to know. As responsible citizens working to keep our community strong, healthy and vibrant, we need to keep the focus on having an open government.

For more information on the FOIA and OMA acts visit the Open Government Guide at www.rcfp.org/open-government-guide. You can scroll down the page, and see the state guide for Michigan.

 

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