Category Archives: Good Parenting

Parenting and The Marriage Penalty Tax Laws

Federal Income Tax
Income Tax Time

Marriage Penalty: 4 Tax Laws That Hit Couples Harder

http://www.dailyfinance.com/2015/01/13/marriage-penalty-tax-laws-hit-couples-harder/

Getting married involves major financial changes, and the U.S. tax system is one of the most important aspects of marital financial planning. Although some married couples benefit from tying the knot as far as their tax returns are concerned, many couples end up paying more than they would if they remained unmarried and each filed their own tax return.

This phenomenon is known as the marriage penalty, and it rears its ugly head in several parts of the tax laws. Let’s take a look at some of the most common provisions in which married couples get the short end of the tax stick.

1. Two-Earner Couples Pay Higher Taxes Faster

Married couples have to combine their earnings in order to determine their gross income, and the tax brackets that apply to various income levels differ for married couples compared to single filers. For one-earner couples, the higher incomes for the brackets for a particular rate result in a marriage bonus. But for two-earner couples who earn roughly the same amount, the fact that the tax brackets for married filers at the 25 percent rate and above have income limits that less than double those of single filers means that they can end up paying extensive marriage penalties.

2. Standard Deductions Are Higher for Unmarried Parents

The tax bracket situation above gets even worse when kids enter the picture. Tax law allows one of the unmarried parents of a child to claim head of household status, which comes with an additional $2,900 standard deduction compared to singles. That means that unmarried parents can claim a total of $15,300 in standard deductions in 2014, compared to just $12,400 for married couples.

In addition, unmarried individuals have the option of having one parent itemize deductions while the other takes a standard deduction. Married couples, on the other hand, don’t have that option. If one itemizes, the other has to as well — even if that spouse has no itemized deductions at all.

3. New Surtax Rules Have Considerable Marriage Penalties

The Medicare and Net Investment Income surtaxes impose additional income taxes of 0.9 percent and 3.8 percent, respectively, on various types of income. The 0.9 percent Medicare tax applies to earnings above $200,000 for singles and $250,000 for married joint filers, while the 3.8 percent Net Investment Income provision imposes tax on interest, dividend, and other investment income to the extent that it falls above the same $200,000 and $250,000 income limits. Two individuals earning just under $200,000 wouldn’t be subject to the provision at all, but if they married, they’d be well over the threshold and owe substantial amounts of tax.

4. Tax Benefit Phaseouts Can Hurt Couples More Quickly

Many favorable tax provisions have income limits above which their benefits slowly phase out and eventually disappear. In many cases, combining two individuals’ incomes is enough to phase out beneficial tax breaks even if neither one alone would have been a problem.

One example involves the income level at which personal exemptions and itemized deductions begin to phase out. For singles, income above $250,000 triggers provisions to start phasing out those tax breaks, while married joint filers face a $300,000 limit. Again, the simplest example involves two people who each earn $200,000 — alone, neither would have a problem, but together, they’d lose considerable amounts of their exemptions and deductions and thus pay a lot more in tax liability.

19 Ways Your Child Can Succeed in Any Academic Class

Silhouette of Happy Family
Happy Family

19 Ways Your Child Can Succeed in Any Academic Class.
by Janice Wald, Reflections, http://mycurrentnewsblog.com/

This is a very good article by Ms Wald, who is an important part of Our Circle. I believe this will be something the Parents in Our Circle will appreciate, since Ms Wald is not only a good parent, but a Teacher also.

DASHCAM: Teen stops to help officer run over by car, realizes it’s her father

This is an amazing story, to me it says “Good Parent, Good Child”.  Our Children should be taught the basic values necessary to become a Good Citizen from birth.

WPMT FOX43

GULF BREEZE, Fla – A Florida Police officer is recovering after he was dragged and run over by a vehicle he stopped for speeding.

Sgt. Kerstan Tatro’s dashcam captured the entire confrontation, including when his own daughter pulled up to help.

Tatro says the vehicle was going 65 in a 35 miles per hour zone.

Once he got to the vehicle, he says he could tell the driver was under the influence of drugs.

As Tatro reaches for the door handle, the driver steps on the gas and speeds off.

Several people come to his aid immediately.

Soon after, Tatro’s teenage daughter arrives.

“Dad, are you OK?” she asks on dash cam video from the incident.

“That’s my dad!” she later says.

The suspect may have gotten away, but two vehicles chased the offender down the road.

Later, police arrested 30-year-old Amy Giorgio.

Police say she was under the influence of several…

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Online, you are guilty even after being proven innocent

Once you’re arrested, your name is tarnished forever.

More and more people are having “Google problems.” They usually look like this:

  1. someone got arrested;
  2. the local newspaper wrote about it;
  3. prosecutors dropped the charges completely;
  4. the person’s record was expunged (in other words, the slate was wiped clean);
  5. the original arrest article, however, is still online.

Now whenever anyone searches that person’s name, the arrest is one of the top Google results even though they’re weren’t guilty.

Google: Your new permanent record

You can imagine the trouble this causes for the individual seeking the article’s takedown: difficulty getting a job, a promotion, or even a date. It seems unfair that even though the judicial system saw fit to remove all traces of the arrest from the person’s record, there’s no corresponding requirement that the local newspaper do the same. What’s the point of expunging a record when anyone with internet access can bring up an old, bogus arrest? Even if a court of law drops the matter, the court of public opinion has condemned that person for life.

The free speech rights of publishers trump those of individuals

In the battle of the newspapers versus the individual’s reputation, the law is on the newspapers’ side. They have a First Amendment right to report true information and are under no legal obligation to remove—“unpublish,” as it’s referred to lately—content, even when significant updates have occurred. In our experience, publishers are generally unwilling to remove articles that were factually accurate when written. Their reasoning ranges from lofty (saying they don’t want to “rewrite the historical record”) to lazy (they have a policy of never changing anything).

Some publications will remove an article, but only if the stars align and several factors exist: the publication doesn’t have a strict policy against unpublishing, we reach an actual human being, we reach an actual human being who’s in a good mood that day, we’re able to provide documentation of the dropped charges or expunged record, and the person to whom we speak decides that the facts of the particular situation warrant removal. It takes hard work, persistence, and luck. Does it happen? Yes, but you can see why it’s pretty rare