NH State Senator Fuller-Clark Encourages Residents To File Their Taxes For Free

http://2bgr8stock.deviantart.com/art/Money-Cash6-117258936 By 2bgr8STOCK

Fuller Clark Urges Constituents to Prepare for Tax Day on April 15 and Use IRS Free File for Online Tax Assistance E-Filing or Extensions

Taxpayers Making $58,000 or Less Can Visit www.IRS.gov/freefile to Prepare and E-File Federal Tax Returns with Free Software & Step-by-Step Help

(Portsmouth,NH) – Senator Martha Fuller Clark today encouraged constituents to take advantage of free tax preparation services available through the Free File program. Every taxpayer with a 2013 Adjusted Gross Income of $58,000 or less may visit www.IRS.gov/freefile to prepare, complete and e-file their federal tax returns at no cost.

Free File is made possible through a partnership between the IRS and the Free File Alliance, a coalition of industry-leading tax software companies. Since its inception in 2003, the program has offered 70 percent of taxpayers free access to leading commercial tax preparation software from Free File Alliance member companies. Free File has already saved taxpayers an estimated $1.2 billion in filing costs.

“Since Tax Day is quickly approaching, I encourage taxpayers making $58,000 or less to take advantage of the free tax services available from the IRS and Free File Alliance by visiting www.IRS.gov/freefile,” said Senator Martha Fuller Clark. “Anyone can use Free File to electronically file a tax return or, if necessary, submit an extension – giving themselves an extra six months to prepare and file a federal tax return.”

IRS Free File is available at www.IRS.gov/freefile, which provides a list of Free File Alliance member companies and their free tax software offerings. Users may either choose the company that fits their needs or utilize the “Help me Find Free File Software” tool. After selecting a company, users will be transferred to the company’s website to prepare, complete and electronically file their federal income tax returns. The service is also available in Spanish.

Free File also offers basic federal e-filing services with no income limitations. This basic e-filing service, called Free File Fillable Forms, allows taxpayers who are familiar with tax law and need no preparation assistance to complete and file their federal income tax electronically. It is also available at www.IRS.gov/freefile.

“Free File makes tax time simple, fast and free for 70 percent of Americans,” said Tim Hugo, executive director of the Free File Alliance. “Since 2003, the Free File Alliance has partnered with the IRS to give taxpayers access to leading online tax preparation software and critical step-by-step support. This year, we invite every taxpayer making $58,000 or less to join the 40 million Americans who have already saved time and money by using Free File.”

Free File Alliance member companies have continually worked with the IRS to strengthen the Free File program, and taxpayers have consistently reported that it is user-friendly and efficient. Responding to a 2009 IRS survey, 96 percent of users said they found Free File easy to use, while 98 percent said they would recommend the program to others.

 

About the Free File Alliance

The Free File Alliance, a coalition of 14 industry-leading tax software companies, has partnered with the IRS since 2003 to help low and middle-income Americans prepare, complete and e-file their federal tax returns online. The Free File Alliance is committed to giving 70 percent of Americans free access to the industry’s top online tax preparation software. About 40 million returns have been filed through Free File since its inception. For more information, visit www.freefilealliance.org.

Granite State Rumblings: The Earned Income Tax Credit Is A Boost To Working Families

Taxes

TaxesWell we are coming up on tax season again. If you are like me, you are thinking about how nice a refund check would be this year!

More than 1 in 5 children (22%) nationwide live in families with incomes below $22,000/year, and 1 in 10 children live in families with incomes of $11,000 a year or less. Did you know that for many low and moderate income families there are several tax credits that many do not take advantage of when filing their taxes? The Child Tax Credit is one.

The Child Tax Credit (CTC) is a partially-refundable tax credit designed to help those families with the cost of raising those children, helping reduce the hardship and expand opportunities for those children. Like the Earned Income Tax Credit, the CTC is also designed to incentivize work.

The CTC is the largest tax code provision benefiting families with children.  By reducing the income tax liability of low-income families with children, and offering a refund of up to $1,000/child to some families, this credit helps offset the cost of raising children. It is estimated that a $1,000 increase in family income helps increase child math scores by 2 percent and reading scores by 3.5 percent. We also know this credit goes right towards bettering the lives of children. Data shows that low-income families spend a larger share of their pre-tax income directly on their children than those with higher incomes (25 percent v.16 percent for middle class families and 12 percent for wealthy families).

The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is another. Here is information from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities about the EITC.

The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a federal tax credit for low- and moderate-income working people. It is designed to encourage and reward work as well as offset federal payroll and income taxes. The EITC is “refundable,” which means that if it exceeds a low-wage worker’s income tax liability, the IRS will refund the balance.

Single or married people who worked full-time or part-time at some point in 2013 can qualify for the EIC, depending on their income.

  • Workers who were raising one child in their home and had income of less than $37, 870 (or $43, 210 for married workers) in 2013 can get an EIC of up to $3,250.
  • Workers who were raising two children in their home and had income of less than $43, 038 (or $48,378 for married workers) in 2013 can get an EIC of up to $5,372.
  • Workers who were raising three or more children in their home and had income of less than $46, 227 (or $51,567 for married workers) in 2013 can get an EIC of up to $6,044.

The EITC is designed to encourage and reward work. Beginning with the first dollar, a worker’s EITC grows with each additional dollar of earnings until the credit reaches the maximum value. This creates an incentive for people to leave welfare for work and for low-wage workers to increase their work hours.

This incentive feature has made the EITC highly successful. Studies have shown, for example, that the EITC — especially in the presence of a strong labor market — has encouraged large numbers of single parents to leave welfare for work. The Committee for Economic Development, an organization of 250 corporate executives and university presidents, concluded in 2000 that “The EITC has become a powerful force in dramatically raising the employment of low-income women in recent years.”

Next to Social Security, the EITC combined with the refundable portion of the Child Tax Credit constitutes the nation’s most powerful anti-poverty program.  These two credits lifted 10.1 million people out of poverty in 2012, including 5.3 million children

The EITC reduces poverty by supplementing the earnings of workers with low wages and low earnings. There has been broad bipartisan agreement that a two-parent family with two children with a full-time, minimum-wage worker should not have to raise its children in poverty. At the federal minimum wage’s current level, such a family can move above the poverty line for an average family of four only if it receives the EITC as well as SNAP (food stamp) benefits.

For young children, moving out of poverty is particularly important. Research has found that lifting income in early childhood not only tends to improve a child’s immediate educational outcomes, but also is associated with more schooling, more hours worked, and higher earnings in adulthood. One such study showed a link between an increase in the EITC for families with more than two children and an increase in achievement in middle childhood for children in these families.

 Growing Up Granite

This year many New Hampshire workers will qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for the first time because their income declined or they became unemployed; tax refunds through the EITC and Child Tax Credit can help low- and moderate-income families cover day-to-day expenses such as utilities, rent, and child care.

EITC and the Child Tax Credit are not considered as income in
determining your eligibility for benefits like TANF, food stamps, and Medicaid.

The number of New Hampshire families that claimed the EITC in 2013, (for tax year 2012), were 78,000. The average EITC dollar amount was $1,882.

The total EITC dollar amount that NH families received was $147 million. The IRS estimates, however, that one in five of eligible people could miss out on the EITC because they don’t know about it, don’t know that they qualify, or don’t know where to find free tax filing assistance.

Yes you read that correctly. Free tax filing assistance is available for some families and individuals in New Hampshire. Below you will find several ways to get help filing your tax return:

Visit a local Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) site, The Vita Program offers free tax help to low- to moderate-income ($51,000 and below) people who cannot prepare their own tax returns.

Visit a local American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) tax preparation site. The IRS certifies volunteers to provide free tax help through the Tax-Aide Program.

The majority of the VITA and TCE sites are open annually from late January/early February to April 15. During this time, you can locate a site near you using the above locator tools.

To have your tax return(s) prepared at a VITA or TCE site you need to bring the following information with you:

  • Proof of identification – Picture ID
  • Social Security Cards for you, your spouse and dependents or a Social Security Number verification letter issued by the Social Security Administration or
  • Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) assignment letter for you, your spouse and dependents
  • Proof of foreign status, if applying for an ITIN
  • Birth dates for you, your spouse and dependents on the tax return
  • Wage and earning statement(s) Form W-2, W-2G, 1099-R, 1099-Misc from all employers
  • Interest and dividend statements from banks (Forms 1099)
  • A copy of last year’s federal and state returns if available
  • Proof of bank account routing numbers and account numbers for Direct Deposit, such as a blank check
  • Total paid for daycare provider and the daycare provider’s tax identifying number (the provider’s Social Security Number or the provider’s business Employer Identification Number) if appropriate
  • To file taxes electronically on a married-filing-joint tax return, both spouses must be present to sign the required forms.

You could do your taxes yourself, by going online to The Internal Revenue Service web site www.irs.gov.

Shea-Porter Urges President Obama to Include RENEW Business Tax Deduction in FY 2015 Budget Request

Carol Shea Porter Official Photo

Carol Shea Porter Official PhotoWASHINGTON, DC – As part of her efforts to revive the American economy and jumpstart the American Dream, Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter has sent a letter to President Obama detailing her recently introduced Reward and Encourage New Business Act (H.R. 3861) and encouraging the President to include the same tax deduction in his Fiscal Year 2015 budget request.

“I recently visited Port City Makerspace, a community-based workshop that provides tools and workspace to local builders and designers,” Shea-Porter wrote. “Along the tour, I witnessed New Hampshire entrepreneurs working to achieve their dreams while growing the local economy. In your Fiscal Year 2014 budget request, you included a permanent increase in the tax deduction for business start-up costs. In order to give entrepreneurs like the ones at Port City Makerspace the support they need to start new businesses, I urge you to again include this increase in your budget request for Fiscal Year 2015.”

Small and new businesses play a very important role in the economy. In 2010, the Kauffman Foundation reported that, between 1977 and 2005, firms in the first year of their existence created an average of 3 million jobs per year. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in the first 3 months of 2013, 1,025 businesses were started in New Hampshire. The RENEW Business Act would permanently double the tax deduction for new businesses from $5,000 to $10,000, which would help create jobs and grow the economy.

As the Department of the Treasury wrote in its budget request documents last year, permanently increasing the deduction limit to $10,000 “lowers the tax cost of investigating new business opportunities and investing in new business activities. Increasing the dollar limit on expensed start-up expenditures would provide a stimulus to business formation and job creation.”

Shea-Porter first introduced this legislation in 2008 as the Small Business Start-Up Support Act (H.R. 7236), and was pleased to see it signed into law during the 111th Congress. Unfortunately, the expanded deduction was allowed to expire, which is why she introduced the RENEW Business Act this year and is urging the President to support the proposal in the White House’s Fiscal Year 2015 budget.

President Obama’s budget is expected to be released on March 4. Full text of the letter, which was sent earlier this month, is below.

+++

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Obama: 

I recently visited Port City Makerspace, a community-based workshop that provides tools and workspace to local builders and designers. Along the tour, I witnessed New Hampshire entrepreneurs working to achieve their dreams while growing the local economy.  In your Fiscal Year 2014 budget request, you included a permanent increase in the tax deduction for business start-up costs.  In order to give entrepreneurs like the ones at Port City Makerspace the support they need to start new businesses, I urge you to again include this increase in your budget request for Fiscal Year 2015. 

Small and new businesses are critical to our economic success.  They drive job creation, stimulate local economies, and provide employment for members of our communities.  That is why I recently introduced the Reward and Encourage New (RENEW) Business Act to permanently double the start-up tax deduction for new businesses from $5,000 to $10,000.  

As the Department of the Treasury wrote in its budget request documents last year, permanently increasing the deduction limit to $10,000 “lowers the tax cost of investigating new business opportunities and investing in new business activities.  Increasing the dollar limit on expensed start-up expenditures would provide a stimulus to business formation and job creation.”  Given the critical importance of these start-ups’ activities to our economy, it is vital that the tax deduction be permanently doubled.

Thank you for your efforts to help small businesses, and I ask that you again include a permanent increase in the deduction for start-up expenses in your budget request for Fiscal Year 2015.

Sincerely,

Carol Shea-Porter
Member of Congress

Rep Annie Kuster Releases ‘Middle Class Jobs And Opportunity Agenda’

Ann kuster head shot LG

Blueprint reflects ideas and input Kuster heard from Granite Staters all across NH’s second district over the past year about how Congress can help create jobs and opportunity for hardworking families

Agenda focuses on common sense, bipartisan ideas to train a highly-skilled workforce; foster innovation; strengthen manufacturing; support small business; build a 21st Century infrastructure; protect the NH Advantage; and more

Ann kuster head shot LGKuster: Our top priority in 2014 must be helping create jobs and opportunity for middle class families

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Marking the start of her second year in office, Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02) this week released her Middle Class Jobs and Opportunity Agenda, a blueprint that reflects ideas and input she has heard from Granite Staters all across New Hampshire’s second district over the past year. Since taking office, Kuster has traveled to every corner of the second district to hear from educators, entrepreneurs, workers, and families about how Congress can help create jobs and grow the economy. Their thoughts and ideas form the foundation of the Jobs and Opportunity Agenda, which outlines a series of common sense, bipartisan steps – ranging from doubling down on investments in innovation and job training, to streamlining government programs – that Congress can take to help small business owners and middle class families achieve their goals.

“From day one, my top priority in Congress has been helping create jobs and opportunity for middle class New Hampshire families,” Kuster said. “That’s what my Middle Class Jobs and Opportunity Agenda is all about. This plan takes ideas from all across New Hampshire’s second district and shapes them into a cohesive vision that can help to create jobs and grow the economy, both here in the Granite State and all across the country.”

From supporting small business to reducing the deficit in a balanced way, the Jobs and Opportunity Agenda touches on a wide range of issues. It includes proposals to increase investments in workforce development; protect access to affordable higher education; and provide tax credits to companies relocating to the United States, among many others.

Kuster will highlight the plan and continue the conversation with Granite Staters throughout 2014. She will start this week with the launch of her Jobs and Opportunity tour, which will include business visits and roundtables, among other events, in Hanover, Claremont and Plymouth, among other locations.

The full text of Kuster’s Middle Class Jobs and Opportunity Agenda is available here.

Governor Hassan Submits Brief in Education Voucher Tax Credit Case

Maggie Hassan

Urges NH Supreme Court to Uphold Superior Court Decision that
Voucher Program is Unconstitutional

CONCORD – Governor Maggie Hassan today submitted an amicus brief urging the New Hampshire Supreme Court to uphold a lower court’s decision that diverting taxpayer dollars from public schools to religious schools violates the state constitution.

“The education voucher tax credit program is a misguided policy that undermines New Hampshire’s public education system and violates our state’s constitutional separation of church and state,” Governor Hassan said. “The New Hampshire Constitution explicitly prohibits the use of public funds for the benefit of schools or institutions of any religious sect or denomination. Diverting millions in already limited education funds from public to religious schools violates this important constitutional protection while making it more difficult for the state to meet its obligation to provide an adequate public education to all of New Hampshire’s young people.”

 

Governor Hassan filed her brief in the case of Duncan v. State of New Hampshire.

 

The Governor’s brief, submitted by counsel, makes three key points: 1) New Hampshire’s Constitution is clearer than the federal constitution in prohibiting tax dollars from being used for religious institutions, both to prohibit state endorsement of a religion and to protect religious institutions from state interference; 2) New Hampshire case law has repeatedly treated tax credits as public expenditures of taxpayer dollars; and 3) The diversion of public money to religious schools through the education voucher tax credit program could undermine the finances of local communities and undermine the state’s ability to meet its responsibilities, including to provide every child with the opportunity for an adequate public education.

The full amicus brief submitted on behalf of Governor can be found here.

Senator Kelly Ayotte Twists The Facts About Immigrants & Taxes With Unemployment Insurance Amendment

New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte (AP Photo/Cheryl Senter)

This week, as the Senate decides whether to extend unemployment benefits, some Senators are looking for “offsets.”  Unfortunately, a fallback for some members of Congress has become targeting programs for immigrants, without regard to the true fiscal or social impact.

Senator Kelly Ayotte Official Portrait

Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH)

One recurring target has been the Addtional Child Tax Credit for immigrant taxpayers. An amendment proposed by Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) prososes to “pay for a three-month extension of unemployment benefits by stopping a scheme that currently allow {sic} illegal immigrants to claim the Additional Child Tax Credit.”

Calling a program which allows immigrant workers to pay taxes and legally claim tax credits a “scheme” distorts reality. Immigrant workers—both undocumented and lawfully present immigrants—like all workers, are required to pay taxes and many do so using an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). The IRS has determined that ITIN filers are indeed eligible to claim the Additional Child Tax Credit for their qualified children. Those who are undocumented pay into a system that makes them ineligible for the vast majority of benefits their tax dollars fund.

Weeding out fraud is important and while there have been some reports of fraud in the program, just as there is in other tax programs, the “fraud” doesn’t occur when an ITIN holder claims the credit. Ending the entire program punishes those who are seeking to follow the law.

ITIN filers are doing the right thing by paying into the tax system with little hope of collecting any future benefits for themselves. According to the Treasury Department’s Inspector General, in 2010, ITIN filers reported $60 billion dollars in wages. There may be debate as to whether this is fair or reasonable policy, but it is not a scheme, nor is it fraud. The debate about ITIN filers and the Additional Child Tax Credit should be fueled by honest reporting and reliable facts.

Via press release from the Immigration Policy Center

SHAHEEN FILES AMENDMENT TO UNDO MILITARY RETIREE CUTS

Image from Senator Shaheen's Website

Preserves benefits by closing corporate tax loophole

Amendment filed to unemployment insurance legislation

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) today filed an amendment to emergency unemployment legislation to protect military retirees from changes to cost of living adjustments (COLA) that were passed in a bipartisan budget agreement.  Shaheen’s amendment mirrors legislation she introduced in December, the Military Retirement Restoration Act, and replaces the estimated $6 billion in savings from military retiree COLA with an estimated $6.6 billion raised by eliminating a tax loophole for offshore corporations.

Shaheen’s amendment was cosponsored by Senators Brian Schatz (D-HI), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Mark Warner (D-VA), Tom Udall (D-NM), Chris Coons (D-DE), Mark Begich (D-AK), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Al Franken (D-MN), and Jeff Merkley (D-OR).

“My plan represents a common-sense approach to restore the cost of living adjustments for future military retirees,” said Shaheen.  “I hope we can get a vote on this amendment as we’re considering an extension of emergency unemployment insurance.”

“I supported the bipartisan budget agreement we passed last year because it will help create economic certainty for our small businesses, promote job creation, and protect us from another government shutdown that can wreak havoc on our economy. But I also knew it wasn’t perfect which is why I’m proposing a smart fix to one of its flaws.  I hope that we can generate bipartisan support for my plan.”

Currently, companies that are incorporated offshore but managed and controlled from the United States can claim foreign status which helps them avoid paying U.S. taxes. Shaheen’s legislation would eliminate the tax loophole that allows those corporations to avoid paying their fair share of taxes.

In December, Shaheen spoke on the Senate floor about her legislation and suggested that “most Americans would agree that this kind of tax avoidance is unfair and that we should close this tax loophole rather than reducing military retiree benefits.”

Is The Congressional Budget Committee Really Out To Destroy The Post Office?

United States Postal Service fleet; U.S.A.

United States Postal Service fleet; U.S.A.Some on the Congressional Budget Committee seem to be misguided on what their task is by seriously considering a proposal to eliminate Saturday mail delivery. The Postal Service has reported an operating profit of $600 Million for Fiscal Year 2013. Its first profit since 2008. Parcel revenue soared to an all time record high of $12.5 Billion. Increasing 8% over last year. So you would think that this is a time to increase service not to decrease it. The USPS is growing to the point that some parts of the country have instituted a limited 7 day’s a week parcel service. Its time to grow the service not shrink it.

This week the Congressional Budget Committee is considering sneaking in a poison pill that would in all probability kill the Postal Service over time and eliminate thousands of jobs immediately. This Budget Committee was set up to mitigate the harmful effects of the Federal Shutdown and sequestration on jobs and public services.   Instead  incredibly they are  exacerbating the problem on both fronts by reducing arguably the most popular and effective part of the Federal Government.

Letter Carrier US Postal Service Though the Postal Service makes an operating profit it is under constant attack by some members of Congress because it provides a popular government service delivered by unionized workers. Government Services and unions are the top targets of the privation zeal of the right-wing. Ideology trumps common sense with these politicians. Somehow they never mention that the worlds best Postal Service does not use ONE CENT of tax payer money

This committee is also attacking the entire Federal workforce by taking $20 billion out of government workers paychecks by increasing workers share of retirement costs.

These same members of this budget committee seem to have no issues with spending billions of dollars every year on a F-35 fighter jet program that literally can’t get off the ground. Yet seem hell-bent on reducing a cost neutral public service that unites our entire country.

The Postal Service financial report is only made gloomy due to an unprecedented retiree health care mandate. The mandate requires the Postal Service to fully fund retiree health care benefits decades in advance, was responsible of 100% of FY 2013 losses and 80% of losses implemented in 2007. This mandate has manufactured a postal crisis that is being used by some politicians to dismantle it.

Apparently the elimination of Saturday delivery will be tied to a trigger that can easily be manipulated by congress and result in disaster for millions of Americans who rely on the Postal Service. These same phony triggers were included in Michigan’s notorious anti union legislation Public Act 4. That destructive law was fortunately repealed by voters last month. We must prevent this Budget Committee from making a similar mistake.

Congress expects to unveil its 2014 budget plan on Friday so the time is short to let members of congress know that eliminating Saturday mail delivery is not an option that makes economic sense. It’s a false choice that the Postal Service must shrink to survive.

 

AFL-CIO President Trumka Says Baucus Tax Reform Falls Short Of The Mark

Richard_Trumka

Statement by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka on Baucus Corporate Tax Proposal

We believe corporate tax reform must do three things: (1) eliminate the tax incentive to shift profits and send jobs to other countries; (2) increase employment and investment in domestic manufacturing; and (3) raise significant amounts of tax revenue over the long term.

Eliminating the tax incentive to send jobs overseas would accomplish all three of these objectives, generating $583 billion over 10 years and much more in the long term.  This is the standard against which any proposal for corporate tax reform should be held.

The discussion draft released today by Sen. Baucus falls short of this standard.  While it does close some of the most egregious tax loopholes that lead companies to shift profits and send jobs overseas, it still leaves too many of those incentives intact.

Moreover, while the Baucus proposal generates tax revenue temporarily with a one-time-only tax (at a reduced rate) on the earnings that U.S. companies are holding outside the country, it does not generate any tax revenue over the long term.  Instead, it uses the tax revenue generated from closing loopholes to lower the corporate tax rate, an approach that was supported by only 9% of respondents in a recent poll.

Unless corporate tax reform generates significant amounts of tax revenue over the long term, working people will have to pay the price, one way or another.

LTE: The Government Shutdown Cost Taxpayers $24 Billion – Why Is Senator Ayotte Not Upset About That?

letters to the editor

Like many of my neighbors, I was relieved when the government shutdown ended. Yet unless Republicans in Congress stop throwing temper tantrums to get what they want, these fights will not be going away. They aren’t cheap: This 15-day shutdown cost our government $24 billion, and that doesn’t include the cost to New Hampshire’s economy. Navy yard contractors and Portsmouth businesses took a huge hit.

It is ridiculous that Sen. Kelly Ayotte harps on the value of fiscal responsibility but does nothing to reign in Tea Party excesses. Her Tea Party leaders nearly destroyed America’s credit rating while wasting billions of dollars. When she was sworn into office she promised to represent the interests of New Hampshire families, yet under her watch her own party has enacted policies that have cost New Hampshire families jobs and income. She has done nothing to stop them. She is, in fact, doing the opposite by putting forward so-called solutions that will perpetuate the Tea Party’s job killing agenda.

Ayotte’s priorities are backward. New Hampshire’s families should come before her Washington buddies.

Lew Henry
Gilmanton