Fuel thoughts on a perfect race day
Nonprofits + politics = tax troubles

Honoring our military,
personally and via tax breaks

Arlington_cemetery_2_2The holiday we know as Memorial Day began just after the Civil War as a way to remember those who had fallen in those divisive battles.

Originally called Decoration Day, the Memorial Day we now celebrate is a federal holiday held on the fourth Monday in May.

And in addition to the name change, the holiday's scope was expanded. It now is a time to recognize the sacrifices of all U.S. military members.

At 3 p.m. local time today, there will be a National Moment of Remembrance, a time for you to voluntarily and informally observe the holiday.

If you wish to participate in more structured events, as well as learn a bit more about Memorial Day, check out this special Web page.

Added tax breaks for the military: Before recessing for the Memorial Day holiday, Congress passed some new tax relief for military families.

The Heroes Earnings Assistance and Relief Tax Act, or HEART Act (H.R. 6081), was unanimously approved last Tuesday by the House. Two days later, the Senate OK'ed the measure by voice vote.

It now is awaiting signature by Dubya. That is not a sure thing, since the $2 billion cost of the bill's tax breaks would be paid for by preventing other people and companies from avoiding taxes. Some of those companies, including defense contractors, have set up overseas offices to avoid paying U.S. Social Security and Medicare taxes.

If the bill does make it into law, some of the tax provisions of the HEART Act include:

  • Making permanent the ability to include combat pay as earned income for purposes of claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit.
  • Allowing active-duty reservists to make penalty-free withdrawals from their retirement plans.
  • Clarifying that those on active duty who file a joint tax return will be eligible for the economic stimulus rebate payment even if the spouse does not have a Social Security number.
  • Permitting military survivors to place death benefits into tax-deferred retirement or savings plans.
  • Providing a tax credit for small business employers who make up the difference of wages lost to employees called to active duty.

The measure, supported by major service organizations, also makes thousands of veterans eligible for low-interest home loans.

"This bill is called the HEART Act, but I would prefer to call it the 'Thank You Bill' -- thank you to the tens of thousands of American men and women who have responded to America's call to fight this war and place themselves in harm's way to serve this nation," House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.), said when the House passed it.

You can read more about the HEART Act in this fact sheet from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), this Social Security Administration legislative bulletin, and in this Army Times article.


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deepak taxes relief

Tax relief help is the assistance offered by various service agencies and companies that engage in tax-related matters. These companies have specialized in personnel who are typically taxation experts and attorneys who assist taxpayers with receiving the full benefits that they are entitled to under the federal and state tax-relief programs. Even though the program introduced by the IRS in 1992 allows taxpayers who are in financial hardship to settle their tax liabilities for less than the full amount, the task of interacting with the IRS can be very emotionally draining. This is particularly so in the case of tax-relief programs since most of them are aimed at low-income persons and senior citizens.

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