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Many will get Economic Impact Payment by prepaid debit card

Nearly four million people are being sent their Economic Impact Payment by prepaid debit card, instead of paper check. The determination of which taxpayers receive a debit card was made by the Bureau of the Fiscal Service, another part of the Treasury Department that works with the IRS to handle distribution of the payments.

These Economic Impact Payment Cards arrive in a plain envelope from Money Network Cardholder Services. The Visa name will appear on the front of the card; the back of the card has the name of the issuing bank, MetaBank, N.A. Information included with the card will explain that the card is an Economic Impact Payment Card.

Those who receive Economic Impact Payment by prepaid debit card can do the following without any fees:

  • Make purchases online and at any retail location where Visa is accepted
  • Get cash from in-network ATMs
  • Transfer funds to their personal bank account
  • Check their card balance online, by mobile app, or by phone

This free, prepaid card also provides consumer protections available to traditional bank account owners, including protection against fraud, loss, and other errors.

The card will come with instructions on how to activate and use it. Learn more at www.eipcard.com.

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Cedar Springs Dental to build new office

This is the rendition of what the new Cedar Springs Dental building will look like.

Dental practice incorporates cutting edge technology to prioritize patient health and safety

Business has been good for a local dentist here—so much so that they are building a new office to accommodate their patients.

Cedar Springs Dental broke ground on a new building last week. Photo by L. Allen.

Cedar Springs Dental broke ground on Monday, May 11, on its new 3,000 square foot office to replace the current 1,000 square foot facility located at 20 East Church Street NE in Cedar Springs, Michigan. The new facility will utilize negative pressure isolation technology for staff and patient safety and is being built adjacent to the current practice. It is expected to open after the turn of the new year.

Through the leadership of Dr. Andy Setaputri, Cedar Springs Dental is implementing cutting-edge technology to ensure patient health and safety. Each operatory will include Grade-A, water filtration systems as well as a single point of entry by way of a limited-touch door. Additionally, each operatory will function as a negative pressure isolation room and will include air purification systems that offer surgical-quality air and limit patient exposure to harmful aerosols. Through these means, Dr. Setaputri will be able to treat his patients in a safer, cleaner environment. The office will also include nine operatories, a surgical suite, and a waiting area.

The project has been in the works since the day Dr. Setaputri purchased the practice from Dr. Danette Martin in 2018. Tripling the size of his current facility will allow Dr. Setaputri to see more patients, as well as bring on his business partner and brother, Zane Setaputri, DDS, without compromising the level of care and service each patient receives.

“We have experienced incredible growth over the past 2 years and are seeing over 60 new patients a month!” commented Dr. Andy Setaputri. “Our current facility is simply too small and outdated to meet our current needs. Building from the ground-up allows us to create the perfect space that prioritizes patient health and safety, as well as prepares us well for future growth. The design and layout of the new office supports the culture we’ve worked hard to establish and allows us to add three full-time positions to the team.” 

“This project would not be possible without the overwhelming support of our patients who continue to trust us for their dental care,” he added. “We are very proud to be a part of the Cedar Springs Community and are confident this new space will allow us to continue to provide the best in dental care for many years to come.”

An Open House for all current patients and the Cedar Springs community will be held at the beginning of the new year. The date has not yet been set.

Grand Rapids-based First Companies will manage construction. Grand Rapids-based Dixon Architecture is the architect. 

Dr. Setaputri studied at the University of Michigan and has been practicing dentistry since 2014. In 2018, Dr. Andy Setaputri purchased the practice from Dr. Danette Martin and rebranded it to Cedar Springs Dental. Dr. Setaputri is devoted to staying up to date with the latest dental technologies and techniques through continuing education courses. He is well-trained in providing quality dental care in all aspects of dentistry, ranging from cosmetic dentistry, endodontics, and oral surgery to crown and bridge work. 

For more information, call the office at 616.696.9420.

Posted in Business, Business Bits, FeaturedComments (0)

Why the Economic Impact Payment amount could be different than anticipated

 IR-2020-93

 WASHINGTON −The IRS and Treasury have successfully delivered nearly 130 million Economic Impact Payments to Americans in less than a month, and more are on the way. Some Americans may have received a payment amount different than what they expected. Payment amounts vary based on income, filing status and family size.

See below for some common scenarios that may explain why you received a different payment amount than expected: 

You have not filed a 2019 tax return, or the IRS has not finished processing your 2019 return 

Payments are automatic for eligible people who filed a tax return for 2018 or 2019. Typically, the IRS uses information from the 2019 tax return to calculate the Economic Impact Payment.  Instead, the IRS will use the 2018 return if the taxpayer has not yet filed for 2019. If a taxpayer has already filed for 2019, the agency will still use the 2018 return if the IRS has not finished processing the 2019 return. Remember, the IRS accepting a tax return electronically is different than completing processing; any issues with the 2019 return mean the IRS would’ve used the 2018 filing.

If the IRS used the 2018 return, various life changes in 2019 would not be reflected in the payment. These may include higher or lower income or birth or adoption of a child. 

In many cases, however, these taxpayers may be able to claim an additional amount on the 2020 tax return they file next year. This could include up to an additional $500 for each qualifying child not reflected in their Economic Impact Payment.

Claimed dependents are not eligible for an additional $500 payment

Only children eligible for the Child Tax Credit qualify for the additional payment of up to $500 per child. To claim the Child Tax Credit, the taxpayer generally must be related to the child, live with them more than half the year and provide at least half of their support. Besides their own children, adopted children and foster children, eligible children can include the taxpayer’s younger siblings, grandchildren, nieces and nephews if they can be claimed as dependents. In addition, any qualifying child must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or other qualifying resident alien. The child must also be under the age of 17 at the end of the year for the tax return on which the IRS bases the payment determination.  

A qualifying child must have a valid Social Security number (SSN) or an Adoption Taxpayer Identification Number (ATIN). A child with an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) is not eligible for an additional payment. 

Parents who are not married to each other and do not file a joint return cannot both claim their qualifying child as a dependent. The parent who claimed their child on their 2019 return may have received an additional Economic Impact Payment for their qualifying child. When the parent who did not receive an additional payment files their 2020 tax return next year, they may be able to claim up to an additional $500 per-child amount on that return if they qualify to claim the child as their qualifying child for 2020.  

Dependents are college students

Pursuant to the CARES Act, dependent college students do not qualify for an EIP, and even though their parents may claim them as dependents, they normally do not qualify for the additional $500 payment. For example, under the law, a 20-year-old full-time college student claimed as a dependent on their mother’s 2019 federal income tax return is not eligible for a $1,200 Economic Impact Payment. In addition, the student’s mother will not receive an additional $500 Economic Impact Payment for the student because they do not qualify as a child younger than 17. This scenario could also apply if a parent’s 2019 tax return hasn’t been processed yet by the IRS before the payments were calculated, and a college student was claimed on a 2018 tax return.

However, if the student cannot be claimed as a dependent by their mother or anyone else for 2020, that student may be eligible to claim a $1,200 credit on their 2020 tax return next year.

Claimed dependents are parents or relatives, age 17 or older

If a dependent is 17 or older, they do not qualify the additional $500. If a taxpayer claimed a parent or any other relative age 17 or older on their tax return, that dependent will not receive a $1,200 payment.  In addition, the taxpayer will not receive an additional $500 payment because the parent or other relative is not a qualifying child under age 17. 

However, if the parent or other relative cannot be claimed as a dependent on the taxpayer’s or anyone else’s return for 2020, the parent or relative may be eligible to individually claim a $1,200 credit on their 2020 tax return filed next year.

Past-due child support was deducted from the payment

The Economic Impact Payment is offset only by past-due child support. The Bureau of the Fiscal Service will send the taxpayer a notice if an offset occurs.

For taxpayers who are married filing jointly and filed an injured spouse claim with their 2019 tax return (or 2018 tax return if they haven’t filed the 2019 tax return), half of the total payment will be sent to each spouse. Only the payment of the spouse who owes past-due child support should be offset. 

The IRS is aware that a portion of the payment sent to a spouse who filed an injured spouse claim with his or her 2019 tax return (or 2018 tax return if no 2019 tax return has been filed) may have been offset by the injured spouse’s past-due child support. The IRS is working with the Bureau of Fiscal Service and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Child Support Enforcement, to resolve this issue as quickly as possible. If you filed an injured spouse claim with your return and are impacted by this issue, you do not need to take any action. The injured spouse will receive their unpaid half of the total payment when the issue is resolved. We apologize for the inconvenience this may have caused.

Garnishments by creditors reduced the payment amount

Federal tax refunds, including the Economic Impact Payment, are not protected from garnishment by creditors by federal law once the proceeds are deposited into a taxpayer’s bank account.

What if the amount of my Economic Impact Payment is incorrect?

Everyone should review the eligibility requirements for their family to make sure they meet the criteria. 

In many instances, eligible taxpayers who received a smaller-than-expected Economic Impact Payment (EIP) may qualify to receive an additional amount early next year when they file their 2020 federal income tax return. EIPs are technically an advance payment of a new temporary tax credit that eligible taxpayers can claim on their 2020 return. Everyone should keep for their records the letter they receive by mail within a few weeks after their payment is issued.

When taxpayers file their return next year, they can claim additional credits on their 2020 tax return if they are eligible for them. The IRS will provide further details on IRS.gov on the action they may need to take.

The EIP will not reduce a taxpayer’s refund or increase the amount they owe when they file a tax return early next year. It is also not taxable and is therefore should not be included in income on a 2020 return.

More resources on Economic Impact Payments here: 

Questions about eligibility, payment amounts and status of payment https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/economic-impact-payment-information-center

Get My Payment tool https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/get-my-payment-frequently-asked-questions

Chart of various payment amount scenarios https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-utl/how_do_I_calculate_my_eip.pdf

Posted in Tax TimeComments (0)

IRS People First Initiative provides relief to taxpayers facing COVID-19 issues

Due to COVID-19, the IRS People First provides relief to taxpayers on a variety of issues from easing payment guidelines to delaying compliance actions. This relief is effective through the filing and payment deadline, Wednesday, July 15, 2020. 

Existing Installment Agreements 

Under an existing Installment Agreement, payments due between April 1 and July 15, 2020 are delayed. Those currently unable to meet the terms of an Installment Payment Agreement [ https://www.irs.gov/payments/payment-plans-installment-agreements ] or Direct Deposit Installment Agreement may cancel payments during this period with no default. By law, interest will continue to accumulate on any unpaid balances. 

New Installment Agreements 

People who can’t pay all their federal taxes can establish a monthly payment agreement. 

Pending Offer in Compromise applications 

Taxpayers have until July 15, 2020, to provide additional information for a pending OIC. The agency generally won’t close any pending OIC request before July 15 without the taxpayer’s consent.

OIC payments 

Taxpayers can delay all payments on accepted OICs until July 15, 2020. Interest may accrue, and missed payments are due when the suspension period ends. Taxpayers can call the number on their acceptance letter to address their needs. 

Delinquent return filings 

The IRS will not default an OIC for taxpayers who are delinquent in filing their tax return for 2018. However, they should file any delinquent 2018 return and their 2019 return by July 15, 2020. 

Non-filers 

More than 1 million households who haven’t filed tax returns in the last three years are owed refunds. The deadline to get refunds on 2016 tax returns is July 15, 2020. Those who owe taxes on delinquent returns may visit IRS.gov for payment options [ https://www.irs.gov/payments ]. The longer the debt is owed, the more penalties and interest accrue. 

Field collection activities 

IRS stopped field revenue officer enforcement actions, such as liens and levies. Revenue officers will continue to pursue high-income non-filers and perform other similar activities where necessary. 

Automated liens and levies 

IRS delayed issuing new automated and systemic liens and levies. Taxpayers experiencing a hardship due to a levy should reach out to their assigned IRS contact or fax their information to (855) 796-4524. 

Certifications to the State Department 

IRS has delayed new certifications of taxpayers who are considered seriously delinquent. This affects a person’s ability to receive a new or renewed passport. Existing certifications will remain in place unless their tax situation changes. 

Private debt collection 

IRS will not forward new delinquent accounts to private collection agencies during this period. 

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Taxpayers have until July 15 to file and pay their taxes

COVID Tax Tip 2020-52

The federal income tax filing deadline has been extended to July 15. Taxpayers also have until July 15 to make any federal income tax payments that were originally due on April 15, without penalties and interest, regardless of the amount they owe. This extension applies to all taxpayers.

There’s no need to file any additional forms to qualify for this automatic federal tax filing and payment relief.

Taxpayers expecting a refund should file electronically. Many taxpayers used Free File https://www.irs.gov/filing/free-file-do-your-federal-taxes-for-free last year. The benefits of filing electronically include:

*It’s available online and can be done from home.

Taxpayers can file using tax software https://www.irs.gov/e-file-providers/efile-with-commercial-software from their home computer if they don’t qualify for Free File. The bottom line is that filing electronically is much more convenient than filling out and mailing paper tax forms. 

 *It’s safe and secure.

Electronic filing is safe and secure. It uses modern encryption technology to protect tax returns. The IRS continues to work with states and tax industry https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/security-summit leaders to protect tax returns from tax-related identity theft https://www.irs.gov/identity-theft-fraud-scams. This effort has helped put safeguards in place to make electronic tax filing a safe and secure option. 

*It’s accurate and easy.

Filing electronically helps taxpayers file a complete and accurate tax return. Taxpayers who fil electronically will receive an acknowledgement from the IRS telling them their return is accepted. If a return is rejected, the acknowledgement says why the IRS rejected the tax return. 

*File electronically for free*.

Free File https://www.irs.gov/filing/free-file-do-your-federal-taxes-for-free is available for eligible taxpayers where they can use online software to file electronically for free. This program is available only on IRS.gov and is for taxpayers who earned less than $69,000 in 2019. Another option, Free File Fillable Forms https://www.irs.gov/e-file-providers/before-starting-free-file-fillable-forms, is available to all taxpayers regardless of income. 

*People who file electronically get their refunds faster.

When taxpayers file electronically and choose direct deposit https://www.irs.gov/refunds/get-your-refund-faster-tell-irs-to-direct-deposit-your-refund-to-one-two-or-three-accounts for their refund, in most cases they can get their money in less than 21 days. If they mail a paper tax return, the refund can take six weeks or longer. 

Taxpayers who owe, should file by the due date, and pay as soon as possible. They can schedule their payment electronically https://www.irs.gov/payments online, by phone, or using their mobile device and the IRS2Go app https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/irs2goapp. It’s always good to pay as much as possible to minimize interest and penalties. The IRS offers a variety of electronic payment options https://www.irs.gov/payments to help taxpayers schedule electronic payments.

*More information

Coronavirus page [ https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus ]

Form 4868 [ https://www.irs.gov/forms-pubs/about-form-4868 ], Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return

Form 7004 [ https://www.irs.gov/forms-pubs/about-form-7004 ], Application for Automatic Extension of Time To File Certain Business Income Tax

Posted in Tax TimeComments (0)

Use IRS Non-Filers tool to get Economic Impact Payment

Many low-income, homeless qualify

WASHINGTON–The Internal Revenue Service reminds low-income Americans to use the free, online tool Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info (https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/non-filers-enter-payment-info-here) to quickly and easily register to receive their Economic Impact Payment.

The IRS has recently released a new Spanish language version of the tool to help even more Americans get their money quickly and easily.

“The IRS is working hard to find new ways for people who don’t have a filing requirement to receive their Economic Impact Payment,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “The Non-Filers tool is an easy way people can register for these payments. I appreciate the work of the Free File Alliance to quickly develop a Spanish-language version of this tool to reach additional people. This is part of a wider effort to reach underserved communities.”

The Non-Filers tool is designed for people with incomes typically below $24,400 for married couples or less than $12,200 for single people. This includes couples and individuals who are homeless. People can qualify, even if they do not work. Anyone claimed as a dependent by another taxpayer is not eligible.

Usually, married couples qualify to receive a $2,400 payment while others normally qualify to get $1,200. People with dependents under 17 can get up to an additional $500 for each child.

Just like people who file returns every year, those who do not have a filing requirement also generally qualify for an Economic Impact Payment. The IRS doesn’t know who many of these people are since they normally don’t file. So, the only way to get the Economic Impact Payment is to register with the IRS.

Here are some questions and answers on the Non-filers tool:

*How do I use the Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info tool?

For those who don’t normally file a tax return, the process is simple and only takes a few minutes. First, visit IRS.gov, and look for “Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here.” Then provide basic information including Social Security number, name, address, and dependents.

The IRS will use this information to confirm eligibility, calculate and send an Economic Impact Payment. No tax will be due as a result of receiving the payment. Entering bank or financial account information will allow the IRS to quickly deposit the payment directly in a savings or checking account. Otherwise, the payment will be mailed, which will take longer to receive than by direct deposit.

“Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info” is secure, and the information entered will be safe. The tool is based on Free File Fillable Forms, part of the Free File Alliances offerings of free products on IRS.gov.

*Who should use the Non-Filers tool?

This new tool is designed for people who did not file a tax return for 2018 or 2019 and are not required to do so under the law. Usually, this means couples with incomes below $24,400 and singles with incomes below $12,200 in 2019.

In addition, the Non-Filers tool can also help families receiving certain government benefits get additional payment amounts, based on their children. These include those receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Veterans Affairs beneficiaries who did not file returns for 2018 or 2019. These recipients need to make the updates for the children in the tool by May 5.

By taking this step, they will still be eligible to receive the separate payment of $500 per qualifying child. See the news release on IRS.gov for full details [ https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/veterans-affairs-recipients-will-receive-automatic-economic-impact-payments-step-follows-work-between-treasury-irs-va ].

*Who should NOT use the tool?

Anyone who already filed either a 2018 or 2019 return does not qualify to use this tool. Similarly, anyone who needs to file either a 2018 or 2019 return should not use this tool, but instead they should file their tax returns. This includes anyone who files a return to claim various tax benefits, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit for low-and moderate-income workers and working families.

The IRS also has seen instances where people required to file a Form 1040 for 2019 are trying to use the Non-Filers tool. The IRS urges people with a filing requirement to avoid complications later with the IRS, and file properly without using the Non-Filer tool.

Students and others who file a return only to receive a refund of withheld taxes should also not use this tool. In addition, students and others claimed as dependents on someone else’s tax return don’t qualify for an Economic Impact Payment and are not eligible to use the Non-Filers tool.

For more Information on Economic Impact Payments, including answers to frequently-asked questions and other resources, visit IRS.gov/coronavirus [ https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus ].

Posted in Tax TimeComments (1)

State Treasury providing student loan assistance

Collection activities on delinquent loans halted until Sept. 30, 2020

LANSING, MICH. The Michigan Department of Treasury today announced Michiganders who have student loans guaranteed by the state will be provided assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Collection activities on delinquent Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP) student loans, made by a financial institution and serviced by the Michigan Guaranty Agency, will be halted until Sept. 30, 2020.

“College students should not have to worry about defaulting on their monthly loan payments during the continuing, unprecedented public health crisis,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said. “This program will help alleviate a tremendous amount of stress from students with financial hardships as they determine the next steps in completing their education and competing for jobs in the 21st century workforce.”

The state Treasury Department has stopped all wage garnishments and offsets to pay outstanding FFELP student loans serviced by the Michigan Guaranty Agency. Borrowers who are currently in repayment agreements will not be penalized if a payment is missed through Sept. 30, 2020.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is both a public health emergency and an economic emergency,” State Treasurer Rachael Eubanks said. “If you are encountering financial hardship and cannot pay your state-backed student loans, please contact us so we can walk through your options for assistance.”

Individuals who have FFELP loans serviced by the Michigan Guaranty Agency and are encountering repayment issues are encouraged to call 1-800-642-5626. Service representatives can discuss payment options with borrowers.

Some FFELP loans were made by private lenders, and guaranty agencies insured these funds. Since 2010, no new FFELP loans have been issued by the federal government.

To learn more about state student finance programs, go to www.michigan.gov/mistudentaid. More information about the Michigan Guaranty Agency is available at www.michigan.gov/mgaloan.

Posted in Tax TimeComments Off on State Treasury providing student loan assistance

Questions about Economic Impact Payments

The IRS is issuing Economic Impact Payments [ https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/economic-impact-payments-what-you-need-to-know ]. These payments are being issued automatically for most individuals. However, some people who don’t usually file a tax return will need to submit basic information to the IRS to receive their payment.

Questions? The IRS is regularly updating the Economic Impact Payment  [ https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/economic-impact-payment-information-center ]and the Get My Payment tool [ https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/get-my-payment-frequently-asked-questions ] frequently asked questions pages on IRS.gov as more information becomes available. Here are answers to some of the most common questions.

How are payments calculated and where will they be sent?

If taxpayers have already filed their 2019 tax return and requested direct deposit of their refund, the IRS will use this information to calculate and send their payment. Those who didn’t provide 2019 direct deposit information or owed tax, can use the Get My Payment tool to provide account information or a payment will be mailed. For those who haven’t filed their 2019 return, the IRS will use their 2018 tax return to calculate the payment.

Payments will also be automatic for those who receive Social Security, railroad retirement or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI and SSI) and veterans benefits who don’t normally file a tax return.

However, to add the $500 per eligible child amount to these payments, the IRS needs the dependent information before the payments are issued. Otherwise, their payment at this time will be $1,200 and, by law, the additional $500 per eligible child amount would be paid in association with a return filing for tax year 2020.

What if the IRS doesnt have the taxpayers direct deposit information? 

If the IRS has not processed the taxpayers payment, the taxpayer may be able to use the “Get My Payment”  [ https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/get-my-payment ]tool to provide their banking information to the agency so their payments can be directly deposited. If no banking information is provided, IRS will mail a check to the taxpayers address on record. The direct debit account information used to make payments to the IRS cannot be used as the account information for the direct deposit of your payment.

Can taxpayers who arent required to file a tax return receive a payment?

Yes. People who dont normally file can use “Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info  [ https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/non-filers-enter-payment-info-here ]”tool to give IRS basic information to get their Economic Impact Payments. This includes low-income or no income taxpayers.

Can taxpayers who haven’t filed a tax return for 2018 or 2019 still receive a payment? 

Yes. Anyone who is required to file a tax return and has not filed a tax return for 2018 or 2019 should file their 2019 return do so as soon as possible to receive a payment. They should include direct deposit banking information on their return.

I received an additional $500 in 2020 for my qualifying child. However, he just turned 17. Will I have to pay back the $500 next year when I file my 2020 tax return?

No, there is no provision in the law requiring repayment of an Economic Impact Payment 

[ https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/economic-impact-payment-information-center ]. When you file next year, you can claim additional credits on your 2020 tax return if you are able to eligible for them, for example if your child is born in 2020. But you wont be required to repay any Payment when filing your 2020 tax return even if your qualifying child turns 17 in 2020 or your adjusted gross income increases in 2020 above the thresholds listed above.

Posted in News, Tax TimeComments Off on Questions about Economic Impact Payments

Protecting your financial health in these uncertain times

(c) fizkes / iStock via Getty Images Plus

(StatePoint) With expected delays in bill payments, unprecedented layoffs, hiring freezes and related hardships, many Americans are facing new financial challenges.

“COVID-19 has impacted all industries and individuals from all walks of life,” says Rod Griffin, senior director of Consumer Education and Advocacy for Experian. “With all of these rapid changes, you might not be thinking about how your credit report may be impacted yet, but you likely will soon.” 

As you adapt to life in this unprecedented time, the experts at Experian are sharing strategies and resources for protecting your financial health and credit history. 

  • Check your credit report. While checking your credit report regularly is always a good idea, this is especially true now. You can get a free copy of your report from Experian every 30 days with a free account. In addition, you can get a free credit report from each of the three national credit reporting agencies annually by visiting annualcreditreport.com.
  • Maintain your score. Making credit payments on time and in-full and keeping your utilization rate (balance-to-limit ratio) as low as possible are the best ways to maintain your credit score. At a maximum, you should try to keep your credit card balances below 30 percent in total and for each individual card. For many reasons, maintaining these habits might not be possible right now. However, paying your minimum monthly payments and anything additional you can afford will go a long way.
  • Talk to your lenders. Keep in mind, lenders don’t want you to fall behind on your payments any more than you do. If you’re facing trouble making monthly payments, contact your lender or creditor. They may have options for helping you cope with COVID-19-related financial hardships. For example, lenders can place your accounts in forbearance or deferment for a period of time.
  • Use credit as a financial tool. While debt is a problem, credit can be a financial tool that can help improve your overall financial health in the long run. As always, avoid making rash decisions when it comes to credit and your financial health.
  • Check out resources. Use new educational resources that can help you protect your financial health in these uncertain times. For example, Experian is hosting a series of #CreditChat conversations surrounding COVID-19 on Wednesdays at 3 p.m. ET on Twitter. The program covers important personal finance topics. The next several #CreditChats will be dedicated to items like methods and strategies for bill repayment, paying down debt, emergency financial assistance and preparing for retirement during COVID-19.

You can also visit Experian’s blog post, “COVID-19 and Your Credit Report,” for updated information pertaining to how COVID-19 may impact your creditworthiness. Additionally, the “Ask Experian” blog shares immediate and evolving resources on its COVID-19 Updates page. To obtain a free Experian credit report and other free services, enroll at Experian.com.

While staying safe and healthy should be everyone’s number one priority, it is also important to protect your financial health at the same time. Be sure to leverage all the resources available to you that can help you emerge from this crisis in good financial standing.

Posted in Business, FeaturedComments Off on Protecting your financial health in these uncertain times

The Advantages of hiring a multigenerational workforce

When many people think of diversity in the workplace, what often comes to mind first is hiring employees of different race, gender, and ethnicity. You can also achieve a richly diverse workforce by hiring employees from various age groups. Multigenerational hiring enriches the work environment, providing a wider range of knowledge, skills, creativity, perspectives, and work styles. When you have a broad range of ages represented in your workforce, you get years of experience and maturity along with youthful enthusiasm. 

What Beneficial Traits Do the Various Generations Offer?

While generalizations don’t hold true for all individuals, some common strengths within each of the categories include:

  • Traditionalists (Born before 1946) – These employees hold respect for authority and have a desire to preserve traditions and follow rules. They value teamwork and are task-oriented.
  • Baby Boomers (Born 1946 – 1964) – These individuals are often resourceful and disciplined. They typically exhibit a strong work ethic and drive to achieve goals.
  • Generation Xers (Born 1965 – 1976) – These self-sufficient workers are usually versatile and receptive to learning new skills. They accept change and have a generally good grasp on using technology.
  • Millennials (Born 1977 – 1995) – Employees in this age group are known for bringing a collaborative attitude and strong technology skills to the table. They tend to value openness of communication and candor. Most have a keen interest in advancing in their careers.
  • Gen Edgers (Born after 1995) – Also known as Generation Z, these individuals have strong self-reliance instincts. As early adopters, they aren’t afraid of trying new approaches for fear of failure. They are adept at using technology and tend to be well-connected and influential socially.

What Can Your Small Business Gain from Hiring Inter-Generationally?

The diversity in abilities and attitudes among employees of different age groups can create a more dynamic atmosphere within your business environment. With a healthy mix of traditional approaches and innovative thinking, you can strike a successful balance without becoming too stuck in your ways or too far out of the box. From your sales and customer service efforts to your product/services development and operational processes, having diversity can help you better recognize deficiencies and make improvements to your business by tapping the unique ideas and frames of reference within your team.

A Reminder

Remember that in all your hiring efforts, you need to follow all the applicable federal, state and local anti-discrimination and other labor laws. To understand the requirements, consider talking with a human resources consultant and/or an attorney. A mentor at your local SCORE chapter can assist you in locating trusted resources in your area and provide you with additional guidance and insight about starting and running your small business.

A SCORE Counselor can serve as a sounding board and will provide valuable unbiased feedback on how to improve things. The SCORE Counselor can also look at the business from the perspective of a bank or other investor and raise questions you may have overlooked.

All SCORE counseling is offered as a free and confidential community service. There are 30 counselors in the Grand Rapids office of SCORE. Call 616-771-0305 for an appointment with a knowledgeable counselor or e-mail us at score@grandrapids.org.  

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