News for Prescott AZ - AmericanTowns.com

Friday, January 18, 2008

Financial Tips By Meghan Knoy

Expect Tax Refund Delays

In late December 2007, Congress decided to freeze the

expansion of the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT), an

outdated tax law from 1969. While this was great news for

some 25 million tax payers, the late date of this

congressional action will reportedly create major delays in

the processing of tax returns and, more importantly,

refund checks.

As you might expect, the IRS had already prepared its tax

packages and computer programs to reflect the 2007 tax

year by the time Congress made its decision. Because of

this, the IRS has said that it cannot process certain

AMT−related tax forms until February 11, 2008, which

could result in an estimated 13.5 million refund delays.

The forms are:

· 8863, Education Credits

· 5695, Residential Energy Credits

· 1040A's Schedule 2: Child & Dependent Care Expenses

· 8396, Mortgage Interest Credit

· 8859, District of Columbia First−Time Homebuyer Credit

If you need advice on how to proceed with your 2007 tax

returns, give us a call. We'll make sure you get the

assistance you need to reach all of your financial goals

and needs.

Frequent "Liar" Programs

On December 31, 2007, United Airlines' Mileage Plus

program slashed its mileage−expiration policy from 3

years to just 18 months, continuing the recent trend begun

by other major airlines, such as American Airlines and

Delta. This means that going forward your miles will expire

after only 18 months of inactivity. To make matters worse,

this change is retroactive. This means that your miles may

have already expired and you don't even know it!

If you're looking for ways to keep your frequent flyer

account active without actually having to fly anywhere,

there are several easy ways customers can do this,

according to United Airlines:

· Use or sign−up for a Mileage Plus Visa credit or debit card.

· Purchase products or services from travel and retail partners.

· Use miles for merchandise, hotel stays, and dining.

· Transfer miles to another Mileage Plus member.

· Donate miles to the Mileage Plus Charity Miles program.

Know the Codes for Big Savings

Each year, more and more people turn to the Internet to

do their holiday shopping, and last year was no different.

According to Forrester Research, US online retail sales

over the holiday season alone grew 11% over the

previous year, for a total of $33 billion.

This year, if you're planning to shop online and add to

these incredible figures, do not buy anything without first

checking out RetailMeNot.com, a great website that offers

coupons and promotional codes that could save you big

on the things you were already going to buy. The site

offers more than 50,000 codes and coupons at any one

time, so there's a good chance they can save you money

on whatever you need. Also, be sure to check

out Current−Codes.com and CouponMountain.com,

similar sites also recommended by Kiplinger's Personal

Finance magazine.

Clean Up Your Credit or Forget It

Just when home prices and interest rates are really

starting to look attractive, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

announced increased delivery fees and new Loan−Level

Price Adjustments, making credit much more expensive

for potential homebuyers and homeowners looking to

refinance. These increased fees are mandatory and have

nothing to do with your mortgage professional. They are

simply Fannie and Freddie's way of recouping losses

associated with the recent rise in delinquencies and

foreclosures. Under Loan−Level Price Adjustments,

additional costs are assessed to mortgages based solely

on FICO credit score ranges that fall below 680. In the

mortgage industry, this is called risk−based pricing, and it

can really add substantial costs to a mortgage if borrowers

aren't credit ready.

If you or someone you know intends to take advantage of

the low home prices and the lowest mortgage interest

rates in years, please call us right away. We'll get you a

copy of your credit score and see what, if anything, needs

to be done. Sometimes small changes to your credit

profile can yield big results that could save thousands of

dollars on your mortgage. Other times, professional credit

repair may be required, and this process could take up to

six months to reach the scores you need. If you'd like

more information about these new fees or a free copy of

our informative Consumer Credit Scoring Booklet, just

give us a call.

Contributor:

Meghan Knoy

Mortgage Planner

Cherry Creek Mortgage

Phone: (928)925−6082

Toll Free: (866)386−2597

MKnoy@ccmclending.com

www.MeghanKnoy.com

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