Category Archives: Good Parenting

How can Truth be anything less????

Good Father
The Best Man I Ever Knew, Me and Frank’s Dad

I can’t do anything other than be myself….  WHY????  Because I refuse to be any less than what this world  no,  the world back then made.

A lot of people will laugh when I say, “before I started this site, I wasn’t this way”, but it IS true, at least in a way it’s true.  After starting this site, and I do mean within 1 hour, I encountered something which I didn’t understand, and that was INDIFFERENCE toward Child Maltreatment.  I haven’t gotten past it either;  no matter how I tried to rationalize the “reasoning” in the possible answers those closest to me gave(in an attempt to avoid JUDGING) as reasons these “uninterested” and “unconcerned” individuals might be “Indifferent”.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines TRUTH as:  the truth : the real facts about something : the things that are true: the quality or state of being true: a statement or idea that is true or accepted as true.

I do not play where Our Children’s welfare and well-being is concerned, and I am in fact very serious.  When someone decides to educate me in this subject, I KNOW why, and that’s what is wrong with my attitude.  When someone is serious, and PREPARED, about educating anyone, they don’t NEGLECT to teach you the last BIG CHAPTER in the subject.

Any of you can ask 2 of my former students, Aliana and Our Editor Aida, about the above paragraph, or just the word “prepared”, and I guarantee you will learn a great deal about me.

OK, I’ll explain a little of the above:  to attempt to lessen, or even imply that I don’t know what I KNOW TO BE TRUE FIRST HAND, is not a smart thing to do, especially when trying to convince me and a good friend, who just happens to be one of my Advisers here, that a certain type of person has gotten a “bad rap” or is stereo-typed totally wrong.  But to be totally PREPARED, and “APPEAR” Genuine, you don’t leave out the disclaimer!!!!

I have something I want to bring to your attention, The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention has updated it’s site, and their 2012 publication.  Have ANY OF YOU EVER KNOWN OF CDC DOUBTING GOVERNMENT NUMBERS, AT LEAST PUBLICLY????

http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/childmaltreatment-facts-at-a-glance.pdf

CPS reports of child maltreatment may underestimate the true occurrence.  A non-CPS study estimated that 1 in 4 U.S. children experience some form of child maltreatment in their lifetimes.

Under the first heading “Child Maltreatment”, you will see one(1) paragraph, followed by a “non-ordered list” which is called a bulleted statement, after two(2) bulleted statements, you will see the second(2nd) paragraph, which is the above paragraph.

Earlier I neglected to finish what I wanted Our Circle to KNOW.  What someone chose to leave out is a small thing most times, the thing I called the disclaimer,  Which in this case it represents OUR CHILDREN that are victims of Child Maltreatment.  The disclaimer is always below, or purposely written smaller, and says:  IT IS ESTIMATED THAT ONLY ¼ OF THE ABUSE CASES ARE REPORTED.

Devon’s 3 Steps to Parenting a Needy Toddler

Devon’s 3 Steps to Parenting a Needy Toddler.

Our Circle will be surprised that their Editor isn’t fast asleep at this hour, but little did any of you know that we decided another drive on Facebook might provide more than LIKES and FOLLOWS.

I am very excited and happy to report not only sighting a young couple that are parents, but also sharing a post with you from their site.  They are Devon and Phoebe, and Arthur is their toddler.  I know you will enjoy this post, and I am looking forward to reading more later today.  Meanwhile, here is their blog URL, Good Night.

https://devonandphoebe.wordpress.com

The 5 Most Popular Tax Credits

Federal Income Tax
The 5 Most Popular Tax Credits

The 5 Most Popular Tax Credits: Can You Use Them, Too?

Tax credits are especially valuable, because unlike deductions, credits reduce your total tax bill dollar for dollar. Whenever you can qualify to take a tax credit, it’s always worth taking a close look to maximize its value and ensure that you remain eligible.

To help you home in on the credits that are most likely to help you, we looked at the latest data from the IRS — from the 2012 tax year — to see which credits people are most likely to take.

5. Retirement Savings Contributions Credit

More than 6.9 million taxpayers took the retirement savings contributions credit, which matches up to 50 percent of the first $2,000 in contributions that single filers make to an IRA or an employer-sponsored retirement plan at work, or $4,000 for joint filers. The dollar value of those credits was relatively low at just $1.2 billion, but that nevertheless saved an average of about $175 per taxpayer in tax liability.

The credit is only available to single filers making less than $30,000 or joint filers making less than $60,000, and the highest percentages apply only to those who meet even smaller income limits of $18,000 and $36,000, respectively. The purpose of the credit is to encourage everyone to save, and so if you set money aside, this credit is your reward for being financially prudent.

4. Foreign Tax Credit

About 7.1 million taxpayers claimed the foreign tax credit. But even though not many more people claimed it than the retirement savings contributions credit, the foreign tax credit had a much more significant financial impact, saving taxpayers $19.1 billion.

The foreign tax credit is intended to avoid double taxation on income earned from another country. It most often applies to international investments, where many brokers withhold foreign taxes automatically. For those whose only exposure to international investments is through mutual funds, it’s sometimes possible to take a full credit against your U.S. taxes for any foreign taxes you pay. Yet complex rules can apply in more complicated situations, so this is an area where a good tax advisor can be extremely helpful.

3. Education Credits

More than 10 million taxpayers took advantage of credits designed to offset college and other educational costs. The vast majority of those taking educational credits used the American Opportunity Tax Credit, which applies to the first four years of college and can reduce your tax bill by up to $2,500. In some cases, you can get a portion of the American Opportunity Tax Credit back as part of your refund even if you didn’t have enough tax liability to apply against it.

When you also combine the Lifetime Learning Credit, which pays 20 percent of up to $10,000 in annual educational costs for a wider range of schooling including graduate school and training classes, taxpayers collected about $19.3 billion from education credits, of which $8.8 billion was refundable. Those amounts make a huge difference to cash-strapped families sending kids to college.

2. Child Tax Credits

Families benefit from credits for having qualifying children, with 22.9 million taxpayers claiming the regular child tax credit and 20.5 million using the additional child tax credit as well. Combined, those two credits returned $55.4 billion to taxpayers.

The regular child tax credit pays up to $1,000 for qualifying children under age 17, of which there were more than 70 million, with phase-outs starting for singles earning $75,000 or more and joint filers with incomes of $110,000. Because the regular child tax credit is nonrefundable, the additional child tax credit fills in the gap for lower-income taxpayers, offering a refundable credit to those who have sufficient job income that makes up for any lost regular child tax credit amounts.

1. Earned Income Tax Credit

The most often-taken credit is the Earned Income Tax Credit, which appeared on 27.8 million returns. It’s also a hugely important credit for Americans, paying out more than $1.02 trillion, or almost $3,700 per taxpayer claiming the credit.

The Earned Income Tax Credit is aimed at low- and middle-income taxpayers, with the highest amounts paid to those who have eligible children. It’s also one of the few credits that is fully refundable, meaning that you can get a refund for up to the full amount of the credit even if you don’t have any tax liability against which to apply it.

Credits are extremely valuable for taxpayers, and you should do everything you can to find credits you qualify for. If you do, they’ll do a great job of reducing your tax liability as much as possible.

Mother saves runaway from trafficking

Child Sex Trafficking
Mother saves runaway girl from Child Sexual Trafficking

Determined mother saves her runaway daughter from human trafficking ring

On Wednesday, authorities in Tacoma, Washington, released details of how a determined mother did her own detective work and rescued her daughter from a regional human trafficking ring.

The mother of a runaway teen found her daughter’s picture on a Backpage.com website. Next, she set up her own undercover sting, by calling the number listed to ask how much she could get for $200. The person who answered, was unaware that the particular girl she was asking about was her own daughter. He told her what hotel to go to for a ‘meet and greet’ with the girl. The mother went to the location and was able to rescue her daughter. Once she had her daughter safely out of harm’s way, she shared the information she had uncovered and that lead police to busting one of the most sophisticated human trafficking rings in the region. This ring operated up and down the I-5 corridor from Everett to Olympia. Their main base of operation was in Tacoma.

22-year-old Michael Williams II is considered the main force behind the trafficking ring that he ran with Curtis Escalante. They were both arrested a month ago and the police went undercover to find the 18-year-old brother of Williams. On Tuesday, police arrested Mikael Williams of Tacoma, and were able to uncover two more teenage victims. Authorities believe that there are many other victims of this particular ring that haven’t been found.

Williams and his co-defendants were able to run this ring through the use of the marketing websites Craigslist and Backpage. If you go to Backpage.com and click on any city, you can then click on the adult section which traffickers use to advertise girls that are available for escort services. Most of these girls do not look like the posted age and no one checks if any of it is factual. Former NBA player, Greg Anthony was recently arrested after he saw an ad in Backpage and arranged a meeting with one of the escorts. The ad had been placed by undercover officers trying to cut down on the people who use Backpage for this reason.

The Washington Exploited and Missing Children Task Force commends this mother for the extremes she went through to recover her daughter safely. Lt. Ron Mead said, “As a result of that contact, had it not been for the mother’s involvement, we certainly wouldn’t have been aware of it as quickly as we were, and may not have been aware of it all.”

6 Things Sneaky Tax Preparers Won’t Tell You

Federal Income Tax
Tax Hacks 2015: 6 Things Sneaky Tax Preparers Won’t Tell You

Tax Hacks 2015: 6 Things Sneaky Tax Preparers Won’t Tell You

It’s sad. Many highly ethical tax professionals are working hard to help taxpayers, but tax season brings out fraudsters, scammers and plain vanilla take-advantage-of-you-while-your-guard-is-down types. It can be hard to tell the difference.

From fraud to incompetence to hinky tricks to outright ripoffs, the field of tax preparation is a magnet for some of the worst consumer abuses. In the video above, Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson describes common tax-time schemes to part you from your money. After watching, read on to find out what the worst tax preparers won’t tell you.

1. I’m incompetent and untrained.

Tax preparation is a mostly unregulated field. According to The National Consumer Law Center, in a report called “Riddled Returns: How Errors and Fraud by Paid Tax Preparers Put Consumers at Risk and What States Can Do”:

There are no minimum educational, training, competency or other standards. In 47 states, there are more regulatory requirements for hairdressers than tax preparers.

Preparers commit errors, misclassify taxpayers’ filing status, mishandle tax credits and even falsify information on tax returns, the report says. These aren’t just a few bad eggs, either. The problems involve “a significant percentage of the preparers tested,” the report says.

It’s no joke for taxpayers. “Consumers who select incompetent or unscrupulous preparers could face audits by the Internal Revenue Service or even criminal sanctions,” a NCLC statement warns.

Stay safe with tax preparation experts who are:

  • Licensed CPAs (certified public accountant).
  • IRS enrolled agents.
  • Trained volunteers with one of two programs, Volunteer Income Tax Assistance or AARP Tax Aide (details below).

2. You could do this yourself.

Doing your own taxes saves the $273, on average, that National Society of Accountants says taxpayers will spend for tax preparation assistance this year. According to Huffington Post financial contributor Carrie Smith, you’re a good DIY candidate if you:

  • Have just one job.
  • No major changes in your income or filing status last year.
  • Own no property or investments.
  • Can understand the tax laws.
  • Are “a numbers person.”
  • Didn’t marry, divorce, lose a spouse or have a child last year.
  • Didn’t start a new business.
  • Aren’t easily overwhelmed by money issues.

One possible reason to consult an expert, Smith says, is that tax credits and deductions for dependents expire, depending on their ages:

If your child goes to college full-time, you can still claim them — and any education expenses — until they’re 24. Determining these situations accurately takes someone who is knowledgeable.

If you made less than $60,000 last year, you may use the IRS Free File tax prep software to prepare and file free of charge online. Free File uses electronic versions of IRS paper forms. You fill them out and file your taxes online. The software includes basic guidance only, however, so it’s best used if you’ve done your own taxes before.

3. You shouldn’t pay so much.

It can be hard to comparison shop for tax preparation services because preparers may be unwilling to quote a price or, if they do, give inaccurate quotes, according to The National Consumer Law Center report. If you can’t get a ballpark figure after describing your situation to a preparer, look for someone else.

It’s easy to try and compare the many tax preparation software products offered for free or cheap online for federal taxes, says Consumer Reports. Most don’t charge until you file your completed tax form, so CR recommends that you try programs and then close them before filing if you don’t like the price they quote.

4. Don’t click on those pop-ups.

There’s a cavalcade of free online tax preparation products, but they are free only if you ignore the options for upgrades. Stick with the no-frills versions of online products by turning a blind eye to pop-ups that offer enhanced services with fees attached.

5. You could get free help.

Some tax preparers will take your money although they know full well you qualify for free tax prep services. Before paying for tax help, check the options.

  • Free tax preparation is available from IRS-trained volunteers through VITA, Volunteer Income Tax Assistance. You qualify if you are older than 65 or make less than $53,000 a year. People with disabilities and limited English-speaking abilities are eligible, too. VITA volunteers help with basic state and federal tax returns. Use VITA’s online locator tool to find help near you.
  • The AARP Foundation’s Tax-Aide program offers free tax help from IRS-trained volunteer for anyone, although it is focused especially on older Americans. Use AARP’s online locator to find help near you or call 888-227-7669.
  • For more free tax prep options, read Tax Hacks 2015: 8 Ways to Get Free Help Preparing Your Taxes.

6. You can get your refund quickly without these crazy fees.

Try to wait the roughly two-to-three weeks it takes to receive your refund and, if you can, avoid instant-refund products because of the ridiculously steep fees. The IRS describes these products:

If you file electronically, your tax preparer or tax preparation and filing software may suggest you purchase a bank product that typically sets up a temporary bank account to receive your income tax refund. Such bank products include, but are not limited to, refund anticipation loans, refund anticipation checks, gift cards and debit cards.

Federally regulated banks no longer make refund anticipation loans. But you’ll find them elsewhere, writes USA Today, citing an example of a refund loan with 273 percent interest.

Here are safe ways to get your refund as quickly as possible:

  • If you can’t pay the tax prep fee. Instead of getting a refund anticipation check to cover your tax prep costs, see if you can use one of the many no-cost tax preparation options.
  • If you don’t have a bank account. If you e-file, you can get your refund loaded onto a prepaid card or payroll card, says CreditCards.com. Or consider Walmart’s (WMT) new Direct2Cash tax refund service: Use a participating (non-electronic) tax-prep service (Walmart often has them in-store) and pick up your refund at a Walmart location after receiving a confirmation code in the mail. “Cash refunds will be available in roughly the same amount of time it takes for a direct deposit to show up in a filer’s account,” USA Today says. Walmart charges nothing, and the tax preparer can charge no more than $7 for the service.
  • If you have a checking account. Have the IRS deposit your refund directly into it, saving you from waiting for the mail to deliver your check.
  • If you just want the money fast. Also, U.S. News says that IRS data shows early filers get their returns in 21 days, on average, compared with longer waits for those who file later. Also, e-filing (filing electronically rather than sending a paper form by snail mail) puts your return in IRS hands faster.

http://www.dailyfinance.com/2015/01/29/sneaky-things-tax-preparers-wont-tell-you/