Tag: 112316

How to Avoid a Tax Refund Delay; Plan Ahead

  As tax filing season approaches, the Internal Revenue Service is reminding taxpayers about steps they can take now to ensure smooth processing of their 2016 tax return and avoid a delay in getting their tax refund next year.
The IRS reminds taxpayers to be sure they have all the documents they need, such as W-2s and 1099s, before filing a tax return. You may also need a copy of your 2015 tax return to make it easier to fill out a 2016 tax return. Beginning in 2017, taxpayers using a software product for the first time may need their Adjusted Gross Income amount from a prior tax return to verify their identity. Learn more about how to verify your identity and electronically sign your tax return at Validating Your Electronically Filed Tax Return. The IRS will begin accepting and processing tax returns once the filing season begins.
Under the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015 (PATH Act), any Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITIN) issued prior to 2013 or that haven’t been used for tax-years 2013, 2014 and 2015 will no longer be valid for use on a tax return as of Jan. 1, 2017. Individuals with expiring ITINs who need to file a return in 2017 will need to renew their ITIN. This process typically takes 7 weeks to receive an ITIN assignment letter, but the process can take longer – 9 to 11 weeks if taxpayers wait to submit Form W-7 during the peak filing season, or send it from overseas. Taxpayers who do not renew an expired ITIN before filing a tax return next year, could face a delayed refund and may be ineligible for certain tax credits. For more information, visit the ITIN information page on IRS.gov.
If you claim the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) on your tax return, the IRS must hold your refund until February 15. This new law requires the IRS to hold the entire refund — even the portion not associated with EITC or ACTC. This change helps ensure that you receive the refund you are owed by giving the agency more time to help detect and prevent fraud.
The IRS always cautions taxpayers not to rely on getting a refund by a certain date, especially when making major purchases or paying bills. Though the IRS issues more than nine out of 10 refunds in less than 21 days, some returns are held for further review.
The easiest way to avoid common errors that delay processing a tax return is to e-file. E-file is the most accurate way to prepare a return and file. There are a number of e-file options:
• IRS Free File,
• Volunteer Income Tax Assistance and Tax Counseling for the Elderly programs,
• commercial tax preparation software, or
• a tax professional
Use Direct Deposit.
With direct deposit, the refund goes directly into the taxpayer’s bank account. There is no risk of having the refund check stolen or lost in the mail. This is the same electronic transfer system used to deposit nearly 98 percent of all Social Security and Veterans Affairs benefits into millions of accounts. Direct deposit also saves taxpayer dollars. It costs the nation’s taxpayers more than $1 for every paper refund check issued but only a dime for each direct deposit made.The IRS has a special page on IRS.gov with steps to take now for the 2017 tax filing season.

Strong Job Outlook for Industrial Maintenance, Welders

Hawkeye Community College will host an information session on short-term training in CNC Machining, Industrial Maintenance, and Welding on Monday, December 5, at 11:30 AM at the Cedar Falls Center, 5330 Nordic Drive, Cedar Falls. The session will include information about upcoming training opportunities, a tour of training areas, and the opportunity to visit with instructors.
The next CNC Machining training runs February 2-June 8, 2017, and meets Mondays and Thursdays from 5-10 PM. CNC operators work in a variety of manufacturing environments and are trained to program, set up, and operate a CNC machine, inspect parts, perform production runs, and set up jobs. CNC machine operators are in high demand in the Cedar Valley. In four months, individuals completing the non-credit certificate may earn $28,000-$37,000 per year, not including overtime.
The next Production Welding training runs February 6-April 11, 2017, and meets Monday-Thursday, 5-9 PM.
Construction Welding training runs January 17-February 20, 2017, and meets Monday-Thursday, 8 AM-1 PM. Welding continues to be the principle means of fabricating and repairing metal products. Iowa Workforce Development forecasts more than 270 job openings each year for welders through 2022. Welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers are some of the top occupations in Iowa with the most job openings. Starting wages average $28,500-$36,000 per year and many in this field work overtime.
Industrial Maintenance runs January 18-August 2, 2017, with classes held Monday-Friday from 7 AM-1:30 PM. The Industrial Maintenance program prepares students for high demand entry-level employment. Industrial maintenance workers maintain, monitor, troubleshoot, and repair equipment used in the production of goods. Individuals completing the non-credit certificate may earn $31,500-$43,000 per year, not including overtime.
For more information, call 319-296-4290 or visit www.hawkeyecollege.edu/go/advanced-manufacturing.

Coming Soon: The LPC Home Lighting Contest

Area residents are encouraged to light up their homes and share some holiday spirit with their neighbors and friends, as the 2016 La Porte City Home Lighting Contest, sponsored by La Porte City Utilities and The Progress Review returns this holiday season.
Homes placing in the top ten this year will receive a $20 credit on their utility bill, courtesy of La Porte City Utilities. To receive a utility credit, winning homes must receive utility service from La Porte City Utilities. Additionally, owners of the homes placing in the top three will be awarded La Porte City Chamber Checks in the amounts of $75, $50 and $25, respectively.
While there are no prizes awarded to La Porte City businesses, special recognition will be given to area merchants who present exceptional displays. Award recipients of the 2016 La Porte City Holiday Home Lighting Contest will be announced in the December 21, 2016 edition of The Progress Review.
Judging for the lighting contest will take place December 16-17, between 5 PM and 7 PM. Area residents are encouraged to leave their holiday lights on during that time.

Meditations – November 23, 2016

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 By Christopher Simon
 

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” ~1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18 NIV
That the Pilgrims who came to America considered it right and proper to honor God with a feast of thanksgiving, despite losing nearly half of their numbers to disease and lack of proper shelter during their first year speaks volumes about their character. Many present-day Americans see the holiday as little more than a chance to indulge the vices of sloth and gluttony. But we should not imagine that there was no grumbling among the Pilgrims. Surely some of them grumbled and complained about the conditions and rued the day they left European shores, and it is likely that some of them felt more like cursing God than thanking Him. But the better angels of their nature won the day, and in November of 1621 the Pilgrims celebrated a harvest with the natives, in what was the first Thanksgiving.
We should take this as counsel to give thanks
in all things, both in good times and in bad, in times of plenty and in times of scarcity, and to share our harvest with our families, friends and neighbors, no matter the size of the harvest or our relations with our families, friends and neighbors.

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Bruce Boosters Turn Corn Harvest into Fundraiser

By Gabe Hanson, Reporter
 
  The Bruce Boosters 4-H club held their annual corn harvest fundraiser on Saturday, November 5. Members and some of their siblings picked ear corn out of windbreaks in two fields south of La Porte City, then enjoyed a potluck lunch hosted by the Ken and Deb Miller family. Everyone had fun and raised $400 for the club. The corn was donated by Ken and Deb Miller and Bart and Kim Frush. The corn was then purchased by Steve and Jama Runyan.
Also helping with picking were Jacob Lowe, Madelyn Moen and Gunnar Moen.

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