10 Inspiration Drive, Scarborough ME

10 Inspiration Drive, Scarborough ME
Gorgeous Gambrel

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

101 Things I Love about Portland Maine




219. Holly Stone women's clothing and accesories on upper exchange has a wonderful collection of interesting designers that are unique to our area.  Like shopping in NYC!  http://hollystone.biz/

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

101 Things I Love about Portland Maine

218. Dean's Sweets on Middle Street:  Delicious dark and milk chocolates.  Yes, this is Dean who makes these yummy treats!  Try the sea salt topped caramels....
http://www.deanssweets.com/

101 Things I Love about Portland Maine







 
217. Hugo's Restaurant on Middle Street in Portland has a fabulous Happy Hour with 1/2 price on special cocktails and a delicious bar menu including potato chips dusted with chive and steak bombs!
 https://sites.google.com/site/hugosportland/happenings

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Great Fashion~~NYC




Plan a trip to New York City and visit YASO in SoHo for a very unique and fabulous collection of stylish women's clothing and accessories.

Friday, February 17, 2012

6 Tax Breaks Every Homeowner Should Know

Date:January 19, 2012

Author:Money Crashers

By David Bakke, Money Crashers


Regardless of the current state of our economy and the housing market, buying a home is still a great investment. However, the resulting taxes that accompany owning a home can lead to confusion and uncertainty.


In most cases, you need to itemize your taxes in order to take advantage of all the tax breaks that accompany home ownership. This might seem overwhelming, but the benefits of completing this process make up for the inconvenience.


SOURCE: Money Crashers


Homeowner Tax Breaks:


1. Mortgage Interest Deduction


Mortgage Interest Deduction (MID) is a top tax break for homeowners, which can save you a significant amount of money. In the beginning, the majority of your monthly mortgage payments go toward loan interest, and you can deduct all the interest from your mortgage on your taxes. Keep Form 1098, issued by your lender, with your important records. This form explains exactly how much you can deduct and serves as proof if you are audited by the IRS.


2. Mortgage Insurance Premiums


Homeowners with new mortgages with a loan-to-value ratio higher than 80% must carry some form of private mortgage insurance (PMI). This insurance protects the lender against loan default. Typically, once you reach 20% equity in your home, you can avoid paying private mortgage insurance.


Until you reach that level of equity, if your adjusted gross income (AGI) is less than $100,000 (or $50,000, if married filing separately), you may be able to deduct the amount that you paid. If you surpass that income level, the deduction is either reduced or eliminated. If your AGI is $109,000 ($54,500, if married filing separately) then the deduction goes away altogether.


3. Energy Star


Installing energy-efficient windows, doors, and skylights can result in another tax deduction. In order to take advantage of this tax break, you must install the items by the end of the year. Additionally, they must be installed at your primary residence, and they need to meet Energy Star program requirements.

If you meet the necessary criteria, you can receive a tax credit equal to 10% of the cost of the products. The credit for windows and skylights is capped at $200, the limit for doors is $500, and you cannot deduct installation costs. The IRS does not state what documentation you need to prove that you paid for these costs. However, you should hold on to all receipts and Energy Star labels for any qualified improvements you make on your home. There are quite a few green energy tax deductions for home improvement.


4. Points


Points refer to charges or fees paid by a borrower to obtain a home mortgage. If you have your first mortgage, you can deduct these charges in the year that you paid them if the loan is for your primary residence and you didn’t pay excessive points. If you have refinanced your mortgage, you can deduct points over the life of the loan. Check the IRS rules for details.


5. Property Taxes


As long as they are based on the assessed value of the real property, you can deduct state and local property taxes. If you pay your property taxes out-of-pocket, you need to locate your bills to determine how much you paid. Most homeowners pay through an escrow account; if you do the same, the information also appears on Form 1098.


6. Construction Loan Interest

If you take out a construction loan to build a home, you may qualify to deduct the interest. You can only use this deduction for the first 24 months of the loan, even if the actual construction takes longer.


Final Thoughts


If you stay organized and focused and keep excellent records, you can take advantage of every tax break, deduction, and credit at your disposal. However, you should seriously consider consulting a tax professional when preparing your taxes for the first time after you buy your home.


You will likely encounter various technical restrictions and confusing guidelines, and you certainly don’t want any problems with the IRS. A professional can help you find more tax breaks, and you will get the best return on investment when you understand and take advantage of each and every one. Which tax breaks are you taking advantage of as a homeowners?


P.S. This year, taxpayers have until April 17 to file their tax returns!


David Bakke lives in Atlanta and is a contributor for Money Crashers, one of the top personal finance blogs that covers a variety of important financial topics like money management, buying and selling a home, real estate investing, and retirement.

Have a Safe and Happy Presidents' Day Weekend!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

101 Things I Love about Portland Maine





216. Antiques One in Arundel: Multi group shop with lots of merchandise having their winter sale now with up to 75% off in some booths!  Worth a trip...

Friday, February 10, 2012

101 Things I Love about Portland Maine



215. Mediterranean Grill in Freeport:  Pleasant simple atmosphere with good food like the salmon filet and fresh house salad.  Bread served with delicious dipping oil.
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Mediterranean-Grill/188650221176216

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

101 Things I Love about Portland Maine


214. The Crooked Mile deli and coffee house in the Old Port has delicious lunches including a grilled cheese and soup deal``try the sweet potato corn chowder!
The cupcake was very good too with very creamy lemon vanilla frosting and a dollop of lemon filling in the moist cake.
http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Crooked-Mile/115983705088938

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

2011 Energy Tax Credits: What You Need to Know to Collect

Published: January 23, 2012 By: Donna Fuscaldo
They’re not as much as they used to be, but there are still energy tax credits to be had for upgrades made in 2011.Effort: Low 1-2 hrs (Form 5695)

Saves: Low $500 (tax credit)
2011’s federal energy tax credits of up to $500 for various home improvements are a far cry from what they were in 2009 and 2010. But if you upgraded to one or more of the following systems in 2011, you may be eligible to take a tax credit on your 2011 returns. (As of January 2012, the feds haven’t extended the credits beyond 2011.)

Biomass stoves

Heating, ventilation, air conditioning

Insulation

Roofs (metal and asphalt)

Water heaters (non-solar)

Windows, doors, and skylights

Storm windows and doors

The energy tax credits are small, but at least a credit is better than a deduction:

Deductions just reduce your taxable income.

With a credit, you get a dollar-for-dollar reduction in your tax liability: If you get the $500 credit, you pay $500 less in taxes.

Other limits on IRS energy tax credits besides $500 max

Credit only extends to 10% of the cost (not the 30% of yesteryear), so you have to spend $5,000 to get $500.

$500 is a lifetime limit. If you pocketed $500 or more in 2009 and 2010 combined, you’re not entitled to any more money for energy-efficient improvements in the above seven categories. But if you took $300 in the last two years, for example, you can get up to $200 in 2011.

With some systems, your cap is even lower than $500.

$500 is the max for all qualified improvements combined.

Certain systems capped below $500

No matter how much you spend on some approved items, you’ll never get the $500 credit—though you could combine some of these:

System Cap

New windows $200 max (and no, not per window—overall)

Advanced main air-circulating fan $50 max

Qualified natural gas, propane, or oil furnace or hot water boiler $150 max

Approved electric and geothermal heat pumps; central air-conditioning systems; and natural gas, propane, or oil water heaters $300 max



And not all products are created equal in the feds’ eyes. Improvements have to meet IRS energy-efficiency standards to qualify for the tax credit. In the case of boilers and furnaces, they have to meet the 95 AFUE standard. EnergyStar.gov has the details.

Tax credits cover installation—sometimes

Rule of thumb: If installation is either particularly difficult or critical to safe functioning, the credit will cover labor. Otherwise, not. (Yes, you’d have to be pretty handy to install your own windows and roof, but the feds put these squarely in the “not covered” category.)

Installation covered for:

Biomass stoves

HVAC

Non-solar water heaters

Installation not covered for:

Insulation

Roofs

Windows, doors, and skylights

How to claim the 2011 energy tax credit

Determine if the system you installed is eligible for the credits. Go to Energy Star’s website for detailed descriptions of what’s covered; then talk to your vendor.

Save system receipts and manufacturer certifications. You’ll need them if the IRS asks for proof.

File IRS Form 5695 with the rest of your tax forms in 2012.

This article provides general information about tax laws and consequences, but isn’t intended to be relied upon as tax or legal advice applicable to particular transactions or circumstances. Consult a tax professional for such advice, and remember that tax laws may vary by jurisdiction.

Donna Fuscaldo

Read more: http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/tax-credits/how-to-collect-2011-tax-energy-credits/#ixzz1ljDpJ5aB

101 Things I Love about Portland Maine



213. Great Asian fare: Pai Men Miyake restaurant in Longfellow Square.
Beautiful surroundings for delicious items like avocado roll or chicken dumplings!