Tag Archives: NIMWOwl

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month

April was first declared Child Abuse Prevention Month by presidential proclamation in 1983.

1974 – Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA)

The first Federal child protection legislation, CAPTA was signed by President Nixon on January 31, 1974 and marked the beginning of a new national response to the problem of child abuse and neglect. The legislation provided Federal assistance to States for prevention, identification, and treatment programs. It also created the National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect (now known as the Office on Child Abuse and Neglect) within the Children’s Bureau to serve as a Federal focal point for CAPTA activities.

1982 – First National Child Abuse Prevention Week

In 1982, Congress resolved that June 6-12 should be designated as the first National Child Abuse Prevention Week.

1983 – April proclaimed the first National Child Abuse Prevention Month

In 1982, Congress resolved that June 6–12 should be designated as the first National Child Abuse Prevention Week; the following year, President Reagan proclaimed April to be the first National Child Abuse Prevention Month, a tradition that continues to this day. The Bureau’s National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect coordinated activities at the Federal level, including creation and dissemination of information and promotional materials. In 1984 for example, posters, bumper stickers, and buttons displayed the theme, “Kids—You can’t beat ’em.” Print, radio, and television PSAs, meanwhile, urged viewers to “Take time out. Don’t take it out on your kid.”

1984 – Child Abuse Prevention Federal Challenge Grants Act

The Children’s Bureau was an early supporter of State Children’s Trust Funds. Kansas was the first State to pass such legislation in the spring of, requiring revenues from surcharges placed on marriage licenses to be used to support child abuse prevention. By 1984, the number of States with Trust Funds was up to 15. That year, Congress passed the Child Abuse Prevention Federal Challenge Grants Act (title IV of P.L. 98–473) to encourage more States to follow suit. By 1989, all but three States had passed Children’s Trust Fund legislation.

Facts about Child Maltreatment

Child Maltreatment is a significant public health problem in the United States.

  • According to Child Protective Service agencies, more than 686,000 children were victims of maltreatment in 2012.
  • Another 1,640 children died in the United States in 2012 from abuse and neglect.
  • The financial costs for victims and society are substantial. A recent CDC study showed that the total lifetime estimated financial cost associated with just 1 year of confirmed cases of child maltreatment is $124 billion.

Abused children often suffer physical injuries including cuts, bruises, burns, and broken bones. Physical injury is far from the only negative impact of maltreatment—it can also affect broader health outcomes, mental health, social development, and risk-taking behavior into adolescence and adulthood.

Child maltreatment includes all types of abuse and neglect of a child under the age of 18 by a parent or caregiver that results in harm or potential harm. There are four common types of abuse:

  • Physical Abuse is the use of physical force, such as hitting, kicking, shaking, burning, or other shows of force against a child.
  • Sexual Abuse involves engaging a child in sexual acts. It includes behaviors such as fondling, penetration, and exposing a child to other sexual activities.
  • Emotional Abuse refers to behaviors that harm a child’s self-worth or emotional well-being. Examples include name calling, shaming, rejection, withholding love, and threatening.
  • Neglect is the failure to meet a child’s basic physical and emotional needs. These needs include housing, food, clothing, education, and access to medical care.

Child maltreatment causes stress that can disrupt early brain development, and serious chronic stress can harm the development of the nervous and immune systems. As a result, children who are abused or neglected are at higher risk for health problems as adults. These problems include alcoholism, depression, drug abuse, eating disorders, obesity, high-risk sexual behaviors, smoking, suicide, and certain chronic diseases.

Child Maltreatment is Preventable

CDC works to stop child maltreatment, including abuse and neglect, before it initially occurs. In doing this, CDC promotes the development of safe, stable, and nurturing relationships and environments between children and their parents or caregivers.

Children’s experiences are defined through their environments (such as homes, schools, and neighborhoods) and relationships with parents, teachers, and other caregivers. Healthy relationships act as a buffer against adverse childhood experiences. They are necessary to ensure the long-term physical and emotional well-being of children.

We would like to take this time to say Thank You to some very special people and agency’s:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
http://www.cdc.gov/

The United States Department of Justice
http://www.justice.gov/

The United States Department of Homeland Security
http://www.dhs.gov/

The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children
http://www.missingkids.com/

Child Welfare Information Gateway
https://www.childwelfare.gov/

The many hours we have used these websites, day and night, each with a seemingly unending supply of resources and educational material.

Without this valuable information, we would have been unable to put forth a quality product for Our Children.

New York Daily News’ Dark Side

Why would anyone, especially a newspaper, attack the Clergy continually?  More to the point, why would The New York Daily News attack the Clergy in Australia, yet ignore high numbers of Child Maltreatment within the state of New York?

It is a matter of public record that only around 650 cases of Child Sexual Abuse have been proven against Clergy.

It is a matter of public record that close to 20,000 cases of Child Sexual Abuse have been proven against employees of the public schools system.

It must be noted that of all cases reported, excluding Clergy, only about 2% are unsubstantiated.

In all cases reported involving Clergy, 65% are unsubstantiated.

We should commend the good, honest, hard-working newspapers in our Country, that take Child Maltreatment seriously.  At this moment, I am looking at Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Texas, South Carolina, Louisiana, Michigan, and Colorado.

Are You Exempt From Health Care Coverage?

Obamacare
re you exempt from Healthcare Coverage

OVERVIEW

The Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, is an individual mandate that requires all eligible Americans to have some form of basic health coverage by 2014. Those without insurance will receive a penalty when they file their tax returns – that is, unless they have an exemption. TurboTax’s Exemption Check can help you find out whether or not you qualify for an exemption.

If your income is so low that you aren’t required to file a tax return, then you’re automatically exempt from the penalty. For example, if a single taxpayer’s income in 2014 was less than $10,150, there typically was no need to file a return; for married couples, the cutoff was $20,300. Even if you do file a return — to claim a refund, for example, or because you are self-employed and earned enough money to require it — you’re still exempt from the insurance requirement if your income is below the cutoff.

You’re also exempt from the requirement if the most inexpensive coverage you can find would cost you more than 8% of your household income.

Membership-based exemptions

Membership in certain groups qualifies you for an exemption from the coverage requirement. The law specifically exempts:

  • Members of federally recognized Indian tribes. The Interior Department currently recognizes 566 Native American and Alaska Native groups.
  • People eligible to receive care from the federal Indian Health Service
  • Members of health care sharing ministries. These are religious-based organizations whose members pledge to pay one another’s medical bills.
  • Members of recognized religious groups that object to insurance for religious reasons. The objection must be to all forms of insurance, including social insurance programs such as Social Security and Medicare, not just health insurance or Obamacare.

Exemptions based on legal status

You’re exempt from the requirement if you are not “lawfully present” in the United States or if you are incarcerated. U.S. tax laws apply to everyone who earns income in the United States, regardless of whether they’re here legally. Illegal or undocumented immigrants are required to file tax returns if their income is high enough, but they are exempt from the coverage requirement. They are also barred from obtaining health insurance through the online insurance marketplaces set up under the Affordable Care Act.

People who are incarcerated — in jail or prison — are exempt. This applies whether you have been convicted and are serving a sentence or are being held awaiting trial.

Hardship exemptions

The law makes hardship exemptions available for people whose current situation makes it too difficult to afford health insurance. These are not permanent exemptions — they last until you can get “back on your feet.” Common situations that may qualify you for a hardship exemption include:

  • Homelessness
  • Eviction or foreclosure
  • Fire, flood or other disaster that caused major damage to your home
  • Bankruptcy
  • Receiving a notice that your electricity, water or other utility service will be shut off
  • Death of a close family member
  • Being a victim of domestic violence
  • Losing health insurance and being unable to find affordable coverage
  • High debt from medical bills
  • High expenses for caring for a sick, disabled or aging family member

Note that these are not the only hardships that may qualify you for an exemption. The government will make a decision on each application for a hardship exemption based on the specific information in the application.

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.

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/