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Don’t Forget the $150 Drivers Education Tax Credit

Who knew? The Driver School License Training Act actually exists.   This is why Your Smart Money Moves is a top ranked blog.  We stay on top of these things so you can improve your bottom line.   You’ll be filing taxes soon, and if you live in the State of Georgia and have a child who took drivers education you can be eligible for this nice little tax credit.   As long as you took courses from a private school, you’ll be eligible for this 2013 state tax deduction. O.C.G.A. 48-7-29.5 (2010) 48-7-29.5. Tax credit for private driver education courses of minors; required documentation; rules and regulations (a) A taxpayer shall be allowed a credit against the tax imposed by Code Section 48-7-20 with respect to the amount expended by such taxpayer for a completed course of driver education for a dependent minor child of such taxpayer at a private driver training school licensed by the Department of Driver Services under Chapter ...

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Should Your Child Wear A ‘LEAF’ To School

After your child gets their driver’s license, one of the next financial considerations is whether or not you should purchase another car for your household.   Some parents will buy their children a brand new Hummer while others will find clunkers that weren’t intended to be two-tone cars even though the hood is black the rest of the car is grey.   With advancements in technology, is it possible that getting a brand new electric car is a good idea? If you’ve read Your Smart Money Moves over the past five years, you know that I’m not a humongous fan of leasing cars.   However, in the case of electric cars, it can be quite advantageous, at least within the state of Georgia.   Consider what a lease would look like on the electric vehicle Nissan Leaf. An income tax credit is available for up to 20% of the cost to purchase or lease an electric vehicle, or $5,000, whichever is less. The credit ...

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4 Money Tips For The Dog Days Of Summer

This is the rainiest summer season I’ve experienced since I moved to the state of Georgia.   Of course people complained about the rain, but then again a few summers back there was even more complaining about the serious drought the state was experiencing. Historically the Farmer’s Almanac states that the Dog Days of summer are from July 3rd to August 11th, but with this year’s rain it will likely move closer to Labor Day.   So what can you do as the Dog Days of summer wind down to clean up your financial plan?  Here are my four smart money moves to consider from now until the end of the year. 1)    Get Educated On Your Workplace Health Insurance Before Open Enrollment– With The Affordable Care Act enrollment set to begin on October 1st, 2013, decisions centering around your family’s health insurance are right around the corner.   Year after year, insurance companies continually blow up your company’s previous plan before installing ...

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All I Want For Back To School Is My Trapper Keeper

It’s officially back-to-school time in the state of Georgia which means polishing up the old routine of making lunches, doing homework, and the frantic mornings of getting everyone on the bus or into the carpool on time.    It is also that time of the year where you are going to begin stocking up on school supplies if you haven’t it done so already.  All I can remember from my childhood and teen years was my mom taking me to the local K-Mart to pick up a few Bic pens, some No. 2 Ticonderoga pencils, and my color coded Trapper Keeper to organize my classes.   Nowadays we’ve got an entirely different routine with school systems providing lists instructing us to practically buy an entire shopping cart of school supplies. This year, my two middle school children have lists both in excess of thirty items that were ‘necessary’ for them to get.   It seems every year the list gets larger and larger.  ...

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The Devil Went Down To Georgia

Charlie Daniels won the Grammy Award for Best Country Vocal Performance in 1979 for “The Devil Went Down to Georgia“, which reached No. 3 on the Hot 100 in September 1979. Almost everybody can name that tune the moment they hear it on the radio. Even if the Devil does come down to Georgia, here is one thing they won’t want to do in this state if they are making a smart money move . . . drink beer. But does it pay to be a ‘sin tax’ consumer in Georgia? ‘Sin Taxes’ as we often hear them called are a form of sumptuary taxes. Sumptuary taxes are ostensibly used for reducing transactions involving something that society considers undesirable, and is thus a kind of sumptuary law. Sin tax is used for taxes on activities that are considered socially undesirable. Common targets of sumptuary taxes are alcohol, tobacco, gambling, and vehicles emitting excessive pollutants. Sumptuary tax on sugar and soft drinks ...

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How Much Will It Cost When Your Son Or Daughter Starts Driving?

It’s hard to imagine for most parents that their son or daughter will be ready to get their driver’s license someday.    In fact, I think this ritual is a little bit like the birthing process.   Nature in part prepares you for very little sleep when the baby is born by making it very difficult to sleep in that last trimester.    As much as your stomach will go through the spin cycle the first time your son or daughter leaves the driveway all by themselves, there is also an overwhelming sense of relief for you to remove the chauffeur cap that you have rightly earned the years preceding your son or daughter getting their driver’s license.    While most families prepare for the magical day when their children get their rite of passage to begin driving, they often don’t consider the extra costs that may hit their family budget.   How much will it cost when my child starts driving? Learners Permit- This ...

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Is Your Homeowner’s Insurance Going To Cost You More Than A Few Shingles?

If you live in the state of Georgia, you may notice a big jump in your Homeowners Insurance here in 2012.   Often, people don’t really look closely at their homeowner’s policies because their mortgage payments are tied together with their principal, interest, real estate taxes, and homeowner’s insurance all paid at one time.  Even though you might get a statement from your insurance company, I’ve seen people not reviewing these statements closely on a year to year basis.   This can be especially true as people quickly scurry to the refinance window trying to lock in the incredibly low long term interest rates. After rising steadily for the past few years, homeowner insurance premiums are expected to jump another 5% this year to $1,004, according to the Insurance Information Institute. That’s the biggest yearly increase since the market downturn and will mark the first time the national average premium is above $1,000. (source: www.wsj.com) Premiums will rise even higher in some ...

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How To Lower Your 2011 Income Taxes

The color of the trees  are changing during the beautiful fall season, and that also means it’s time to begin thinking about strategies for minimizing your 2011 income taxes before the year has come to a completion.    Remember, that when it comes to lowering income taxes, you generally have to large rock strategies.   Above the line deductions are tax deductions that reduce the amount that will end up on the taxable income line to determine how much tax you should have paid for 2011.   Below the line deductions, which mainly have to deal with tax credits that will offset the tax you owe dollar for dollar in most cases.     It is important to note that there are many strategies to keep your income taxes down, but here are four you should consider before the clock strikes midnight in 2011.  Max out your contributions to your employer sponsored retirement plan –   For most of you this will be your 401(k), 403(b), ...

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5 Smart Financial Moves To Start The New Year Off With A Bang

The holiday season brought snow on Christmas Day to the state of Georgia along with some relief around tax breaks that helped both the wealthy and the unemployed. It seemed like everyone’s stocking got a gift or two, but the reality of all these tax breaks will sneak up on us a few years from now. As the New Year gets kicked off, there are some key things you want to be taking action on in respect to your overall financial plan. Rates will not stay low forever – If you have the situation where you can afford to buy a piece of real estate or potentially refinance your home, this would be the time to take advantage of doing that if you haven’t jumped on the wagon already. If you have an adjustable rate mortgage, you should consider getting that locked into some type of fixed rate program. If you cannot refinance and are stuck with a higher interest ...

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