Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Getting Along During the Holidays

The holidays can be a difficult time reminding you of better years when the family was still together. It is sometimes helpful to take a vacation during the holidays to get away from painful triggers and escape the stress of cooking and cleaning, questions from well-meaning relatives and friends, decorating, going to parties alone, etc. Your children should be told that the holidays will be a happy time and you will make new memories. For examples of how to create new family traditions, check out a book by Jann Blackstone-Ford and Sharyl Jupe called Ex-Etiquette for Holidays and Other Family Celebrations . The authors' book on how to handle the holidays is practical and thorough. Make sure that you think about your child's best interests in making your plans. Be respectful of your ex's rituals and traditions and try not to speak ill of your ex-spouse or his family, or or anyone else for that matter.
Emphasize for the children that they will be celebrating with both parents and that the important thing is being together, not necessarily on a certain day. Just be sure to avoid giving your younger child the power to make the decision as to with which parent she or he will be during certain celebrations. That could make him or her feel guilty.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Noteworthy Changes in our tax laws for 2009

There are many tax incentives set to expire. As a result, accelerating qualifying expenses into 2009 to take advantage of these incentives, rather than incurring them early in 2010, may make a significant difference in your overall tax bill. Some noteworthy changes in 2009 include the following:
• New vehicle deduction - The new economic stimulus law includes a special tax provision
designed to generate sales of motor vehicles. It applies to qualified vehicles purchased after
February 16, 2009.
• Residential Energy Credits - Take advantage of the energy tax credit for installations in
your home. The new economic stimulus law enhanced the residential energy credit for
installations in 2009.
• For businesses, bonus depreciation and enhanced "section 179 expensing," both designed
to temporarily encourage business to make capital investments, likely will be headed for
extinction at the end of 2009.
• Education Tax Credits - Qualifying taxpayers can now deduct 100% of the first $2,000
of tuition and related expenses and 25% of the next $2,000 of expenses for the first four
years of postsecondary education.
• Unemployment compensation - First $2,400 excluded from federal taxation in 2009.
• Cash for Clunkers - Excludable for federal tax purposes but potentially taxable in