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Top 10 Tax Tips by the IRS

by Tanya Power

  Compliments of Inman News

From time to time the IRS releases tips designed to help people with their taxes. Some of these are quite useful.

Last week the agency released "Ten Tax Tips for Individuals Selling Their Home," (IRS Summertime Tax Tip 2011-15).

As a real estate agent or broker, it is not your job to give home sellers tax advice. Indeed, it is advisable not to, since you could end up getting sued if you give wrong advice.

Instead, refer sellers to this list of IRS tips. It's a good starting place for them to begin to understand this often complex area of tax law. You could even print it out and hand it to anyone who asks you about these issues.

1. In general, you are eligible to exclude the gain from income if you have owned and used your home as your main home for two years out of the five years prior to the date of its sale.


2. If you have a gain from the sale of your main home, you may be able to exclude up to $250,000 of the gain from your income ($500,000 on a joint return in most cases).


3. You are not eligible for the exclusion if you excluded the gain from the sale of another home during the two-year period prior to the sale of your home.


4. If you can exclude all of the gain, you do not need to report the sale on your tax return.


5. If you have a gain that cannot be excluded, it is taxable. You must report it on Form 1040, Schedule D, Capital Gains and Losses.


6. You cannot deduct a loss from the sale of your main home.


7. Worksheets are included in Publication 523, Selling Your Home, to help you figure the adjusted basis of the home you sold, the gain (or loss) on the sale, and the gain that you can exclude.


8. If you have more than one home, you can exclude a gain only from the sale of your main home. You must pay tax on the gain from selling any other home. If you have two homes and live in both of them, your main home is ordinarily the one you live in most of the time.


9. If you received the first-time homebuyer credit and within 36 months of the date of purchase, the property is no longer used as your principal residence, you are required to repay the credit. Repayment of the full credit is due with the income tax return for the year the home ceased to be your principal residence, using Form 5405, First-Time Homebuyer Credit and Repayment of the Credit. The full amount of the credit is reflected as additional tax on that year's tax return.


10. When you move, be sure to update your address with the IRS and the U.S. Postal Service to ensure you receive refunds or correspondence from the IRS. Use Form 8822, Change of Address, to notify the IRS of your address change.

These tips can be found on the IRS website at http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/content/0,,id=104608,00.html.

Kona Hawaii Living

by Tanya Power

Locals say ” Lucky I Live Hawaii.” I am lucky I live Kona. Kona draws people that say ‘hello” and wave to each other. A vision of small-town living (Beaver Clever style) comes to mind. Kona! This is not Big City living. It’s Home Town living. A place you feel comfortable and secure while the rest of the world whirls around on some distant shore. Kona is still a place where:

- you recognize familiar faces as you pass them in the grocery store
- you know the name of the guy behind the counter at the post office
- you will get a call from the boutique when your favorite brand of dress comes in (and before your size is sold)
- you know your neighbors by FIRST names
- you barbecue with your friends at a moment’s notice.

That’s the PEOPLE.

But there is more. It’s about the LIFESTYLE.

- you can take an ocean swim in the morning before work sometime with a dolphin escort
- you can watch the sunset from your lanai, or
- you can watch the sunset with a mai tai in hand from your favorite ocean-front “drinkin’ hole” — usually with a plate of freshly caught sashimi
- you can hike the trail that King Kamehameha himself created to travel the island
- you can explore parrot caves
- you can jump on a bike and do the Ironman ride to Hawi and back. All 112 miles of it! (Or, for my style, jump on a bike and go to the coffee shop for a Kona Coffee cappuccino!)
- you can… you can… you can…

That’s the LIFESTYLE!

That’s why I’m lucky. You can be “Lucky you Live Hawaii” too.

Yes, you CAN!    

Extended tax credit

by Tanya Power

Tax Credit Deadline Extended
Homebuyers who signed a contract or a purchase agreement to buy a home by April 30 now officially have until September 30, 2010 to close the deal and still qualify for the homebuyer tax credit. This morning President Barack Obama signed legislation into law that extends the closing deadline from June 30, which could be a boon for as many as 180,000 homebuyers who qualify for the extension, according to NAR. Many of these pending sales are for so-called distressed homes — foreclosures or short sales — which typically take longer to reach the closing table than more basic transactions. In May, distressed homes accounted for 31 percent of all existing-home sales, NAR reports. Fri, Jul 2, 2010

From CRS Member connect

Hometown Living in Hawaii

by Tanya Power

Locals say “Lucky I Live Hawaii”.   I am lucky I live Kona.  Kona draws people that say ‘Hello’ and wave to each other. …a vision of small town living (Beaver Clever stuff) comes to mind.  Kona!  This is not big city living…its home town living.  A place you feel comfortable and secure while the rest of the world whirls around on some distant shore.  Kona is still a place that:

  • you recognize familiar faces as you pass them in the grocery store
  •  you know the name of the guy behind the counter at the post office,
  • If your favorite brand of dress comes into the boutique, you will get a call to take a look
  • You know your neighbors by first name
  • You barbecue with your friends at a moment’s notice.

That’s the people.  But there is more…it’s about the lifestyle:

  • You can take an ocean swim in the morning before work – sometimes even with the dolphins escorting you
  • You can watch the sunset from your lanai or
  • You can watch the sunset with a mai tai in hand from your favorite oceanfront “drinkin’ hole”…usually with a plate of fresh catch sashimi, too.
  • You can hike the trail that King Kamehameha himself created to travel the Island.
  • You can explore parrot caves
  • You can jump on a bike and do the Ironman ride to Hawi and back – 112 miles (or for my style – jump on a bike and go to the coffee shop for a Kona coffee cappuccino.
  • You can….you can….you can…. That is the lifestyle!

That’s why I’m lucky.  You can be “Lucky you live Hawaii, too”.  You can!

Living in the tropics can be….well….tropical!

Heat and moisture are a given in the tropics.  We live with our windows open to take advantage of mauka/makai breezes (mountain/ocean), we use fans to keep our bodies cool through evaporation, and we enjoy sunlight and warm weather 365 days a year.  So how do we ecologically-minded, tropical dwellers deal with the heat and moisture in our homes? 

Skylights and attic fans!

Traditional skylights provide additional light in a room, but in the heat of the day, that heat transfers into the room along with the light.  A technology that, in layman’s terms, “reflects light in a mirrored tube” is the answer.

Ken Sheeks of Hawaii Skylights and Solar Fans explains,

·         Our skylights are 500% more effective than the competitor’s and emit the brightest light and truest color representation possible.  Typical locations to have the skylights installed are in kitchens, offices, bathrooms, laundry rooms, hallways and master closets.  How about additional light in your garage without turning on a light? 

 

·         They block 100% of the UV and have no heat gain.

 

·         Our skylights can have extension tubes up to 20 feet without losing any light.  These can be installed on any roof in about 2 hours. 

 

·         Typically, one of our attic fans can suffice for up to 1200 square feet.  It can reduce attic temperatures up to 30 degrees and ceiling temperatures up to 15 degrees.  This translates to a cooler home without using ceiling fans or air conditioning.  If one still needs air conditioning, the ductwork in the attic will absorb less heat from the now cooler attic.  This makes the air conditioning more effective, reduces run time and lowers the energy bill.

 

·         Both the skylights and the fans are Energy Star* rated and may qualify for the Federal Energy Tax credit of up to 10% to 30%.  Additionally, the fan may qualify for the 35% State Solar Energy tax credit.  The net cost to the home owner is up to 65%of the purchase price.  Typically, even without the energy tax credit, both pay for themselves within a couple of years in savings on your electric bill.  With the tax credit, it is only several months to pay for themselves depending on your energy usage.  Of course, check with your tax adviser.

 

·         No home owners’ association (or similar organization) can restrict the installation of any solar energy device.  The only issue an HOA can restrict is the location where the device may be installed - but only if it doesn't reduce the efficiency by more than 25% or increase the cost by more than 15%.

 

The tropics are a wonderful place to live and “green” home ideas such as this will help us all to keep it that way!

To contact Hawaii Skylights and Solar Fans: 808-345-1779 or www.HawaiiSkylights.comI

 

*Wondering about Energy Star?  Watch for our green pages next month for more information…

 

Pages sponsored by EcoBrokers Tanya T Power, RS and Jean Gray, RS

Hawaiian Electric Energy Star Rebate

by Tanya Power

The following is from HECO....and Oahu residents have a great opportunity for rebates on their utility bills when purchasing Energy Star appliances.  With some effort, hopefully HELCO (on the Island of Hawaii) will follow suit.

Hawaiian Electric Rebates on Energy Star® Appliances

Now, Oahu residential customers can receive rebates from Hawaiian Electric on energy efficient appliances that carry the ENERGY STAR® label.

ENERGY STAR® labeled appliances have met rigorous energy efficiency standards set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and incorporate advanced technologies that use 10 – 50% less energy than standard models.

   HAWAIIAN ELECTRIC REBATES ON OAHU:
   ENERGY STAR® CEILING FAN   $40
   ENERGY STAR® CLOTHES WASHER   $50
   ENERGY STAR® DISHWASHER   $50
   ENERGY STAR® REFRIGERATOR   $50
   ENERGY STAR® WINDOW AIR CONDITIONER   $75


TO QUALIFY

  • Check the links below (to the energystar.gov website) to be sure the Brand and Model you plan to purchase are on the Product List.

    Ceiling Fans

    Ceiling Fans/Lights

    Clothes Washers

    Dishwashers

    Refrigerators

    Window Air Conditioners

  • Click on the link below to download a pdf of the Hawaiian Electric Rebate Form. Rebate Form

  • Mail Completed Application and ORIGINAL sales receipt (photocopies will not be accepted) to:

    HECO’s Energy$olutionsSM for the Home
    P.O. Box 3920,
    Honolulu, HI 96812-3920

    The receipt MUST indicate the make and model number. Please enclose a self-addressed stamped envelope if you would like your receipt returned.

LEARN MORE

Ceiling Fans ENERGY STAR-rated ceiling fan/light units use improved motors and blade designs which are 50% more efficient than conventional fan/light units. Earn a $40 rebate from HECO for this purchase.

Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFL)CFLs use 2/3 less energy than regular incandescent bulbs for the same amount of light, lasts up to 10 times longer and can save you up to $20 per year per bulb. Be sure to pick a bulb that fits your fixture, for indoor or outdoor use. Click here for CFL coupons offers.

Clothes Washers Save energy and water when you buy an ENERGY STAR front or top loading clothes washer which uses up to 50%* less energy and 15-22 gallons less water per load compared to a standard full size machine, plus you can earn a $50 rebate from HECO.

Refrigerators Many ENERGY STAR refrigerator models provided energy savings without sacrificing features such as automatic icemakers and through-the-door ice dispensers. Qualified models are available with top, bottom and side-by-side freezers. This purchase earns you a $50 HECO rebate.

Dishwashers Qualified ENERGY STAR dishwashers use up to 40%* less energy than conventional models. Earn a $50 rebate from HECO for this purchase.

Air Conditioning If your window air conditioning unit is more than 10 years old and you replace it with an ENERGY STAR qualified model, you can save an average of $25* per year on your electric bill, plus earn a $75 rebate from HECO.

This is my personal effort to continually update you on "Eco-Green" ideas....you may want to consider Energy Star Appliances just to save on your electric bill.  The rebate is "gravy"!

Interested in buying or selling real estate?  Contact me!


Energy Efficient Appliances

by Tanya Power

Energy-Efficient Appliances

Technology Snapshot & Benefits:
Both immediate and indirect economic savings can come from energy-efficient appliances such as refrigerators, horizontal-axis washing machines, clothes dryers, dishwashers, etc. Immediate and continuing savings accrue from lower utility bills for electricity and/or water. The performance levels of these appliances meet, and generally exceed, those of industry ?standard? models. As a case in point, consider household refrigeration. By the late 1970s, refrigerators reached their most inefficient performance by requiring about 1750 kiloWatt-hours per year to operate. Modern energy-efficient refrigerators provide the same or better service at 450-550 kiloWatt-hours per year, and they are much quieter in operation.

Estimated Cost Savings:
The direct economic savings achieved by efficient appliances are a function of how much the appliance will be used, the performance level of the equipment being replaced, and local costs for utilities. When you replace older equipment, it is not uncommon for electricity consumption for that appliance to decrease by 50% or more. In general, if the appliance being replaced is more than 15 years old, and it is replaced with a state-of-the-art unit, you may expect utility savings of 20%-60% compared with the energy required by the previous appliance. Horizontal-axis washing machines typically save consumers 50% in both electric and water utilities. Additional savings come from reduced quantities of detergent.

Your monthly electrical bill is for all electricity used by all electrical loads in the building, so changing a single appliance will lower the bill, but in proportion to the amount of electricity formerly used by that appliance. If refrigeration represents 15-20% of your electric bill, a new refrigerator that is twice as efficient as the unit being replaced will lower your total bill by about 7-10%.

Any increase in initial cost is usually more than made up in monthly savings. See ACEEE's Most Energy-Efficient Appliances for more detailed information on appliances and savings.

Issues:
Availability of the most energy-efficient appliances may be an issue. Sometimes the best equipment is in demand, which can mean that discounts and sale prices are either unavailable or of lower value. Over time, as manufacturers and suppliers clear inventories of less efficient models by offering discounts, expect the price of efficient appliances to come down as well.

Regional Issues:
Primarily, regional issues involve supply, delivery, and installation.

Installation (Getting It Done):
Be sure to price shop and to get two or three (or more) prices. Inquire about installation and removal of your old unit. For any refrigeration unit, be sure that the refrigerant will be removed and recycled responsibly. Refrigerants are very potent greenhouse gases and must be captured and contained. Shopping for price and availability will give you perspective on the true costs of equipment and installation in your area.

More Information on This Topic:

U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy: Energy Savers - Appliances

U.S. Department of Energy's Building Technologies Program: Dishwasher Tips

U.S. Department of Energy's Building Technologies Program: Laundry Tips

U.S. Department of Energy's Building Technologies Program: Refrigerator/Freezer Energy Tips

Energy Star®: Appliances

Energy Star®: Clothes Washers

Energy Star®: Dehumidifiers

Energy Star®: Dishwashers

Energy Star®: Refrigerators

Energy Star®: Room Air Conditioners

Company to Test Solar Tech on Hawaii

by Tanya Power

From Pacific Business News

A California company is bringing its new solar technology to the Big Island.  SolFocus will test its Concentrator Photovoltaics in Hawaii at the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii.  The company said it will test future generations of CPV to see if it is suitable for Hawaii.  It is the first time CPV technology will be commercially available in the state.  The company said its technology uses a system of nonimaging optics that magnify sunlight 500 times onto small solar cells.  The solar panels are made of aluminum and glass.  SolFocus is based in Mountain View, California.  More information coming soon.

New Legislation supports housing

by Tanya Power

The following is from the National Assoc. of Realtors.  Would you consider purchasing a new home if you could have a $7,500 credit on your taxes.  Wow - This is great!

National Association of REALTORS®
Summary of Key Provisions of H.R. 3221 - The Housing Stimulus Bill (as of 7/30/08)


H.R. 3221, the “Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008,” passed the House on July 23, 2008, by a vote of 272-152. On Saturday, July 26, 2008, the Senate passed the bill by a vote of 72-13. The President signed the bill on July 30, 2008. The bill includes the following provisions:


 

  • GSE Reform – including a strong independent regulator, and permanent conforming loan limits up to the greater of $417,000 or 115% local area median home price, capped at $625,500. The effective date for reforms is immediate upon enactment, but the loan limits will not go into effect until the expiration of the Economic Stimulus limits (December 31, 2008).
  • FHA Reform – including permanent FHA loan limits at the greater of $271,050 or 115% of local area median home price, capped at $625,500; streamlined processing for FHA condos; reforms to the HECM program, and reforms to the FHA manufactured housing program. The downpayment requirement on FHA loans will go up to 3.5% (from 3%). The effective date for reforms is immediate upon enactment, but the loan limits will not go into effect until the expiration of the Economic Stimulus limits (December 31, 2008).
  • Homebuyer Tax Credit - a $7500 tax credit that would be would be available for any qualified purchase between April 8, 2008 and June 30, 2009. The credit is repayable over 15 years (making it, in effect, an interest free loan).
  • FHA foreclosure rescue – development of a refinance program for homebuyers with problematic subprime loans. Lenders would write down qualified mortgages to 85% of the current appraised value and qualified borrowers would get a new FHA 30-year fixed mortgage at 90% of appraised value. Borrowers would have to share 50% of all future appreciation with FHA. The loan limit for this program is $550,440 nationwide. Program is effective on October 1, 2008.
  • Seller-funded downpayment assistance programs – codifies existing FHA proposal to prohibit the use of downpayment assistance programs funded by those who have a financial interest in the sale; does not prohibit other assistance programs provided by nonprofits funded by other sources, churches, employers, or family members. This prohibition does not go into effect until October 1, 2008.
  • VA loan limits – temporarily increases the VA home loan guarantee loan limits to the same level as the Economic Stimulus limits through December 31, 2008.
  • Risk-based pricing – puts a moratorium on FHA using risk-based pricing for one year. This provision is effective from October 1, 2008 through September 30, 2009.
  • GSE Stabilization – includes language proposed by the Treasury Department to authorize Treasury to make loans to and buy stock from the GSEs to make sure that Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae could not fail.
  • Mortgage Revenue Bond Authority – authorizes $10 billion in mortgage revenue bonds for refinancing subprime mortgages.
  • National Affordable Housing Trust Fund – Develops a Trust Fund funded by a percentage of profits from the GSEs. In its first years, the Trust Fund would cover costs of any defaulted loans in FHA foreclosure program. In out years, the Trust Fund would be used for the development of affordable housing.
  • CDBG Funding – Provides $4 billion in neighborhood revitalization funds for communities to purchase foreclosed homes.
  • LIHTC – Modernizes the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program to make it more efficient.
  • Loan Originator Requirements – Strengthens the existing state-run nationwide mortgage originator licensing and registration system (and requires a parallel HUD system for states that fail to participate). Federal bank regulators will establish a parallel registration system for FDIC-insured banks. The purpose is to prevent fraud and require minimum licensing and education requirements. The bill exempts those who only perform real estate brokerage activities and are licensed or registered by a state, unless they are compensated by a lender, mortgage broker, or other loan originator.


Monday morning real estate market update

by Tanya Power

Being the third quarter of the year, which historically is a good time for families to be buying their vacation homes in Hawaii, I am seeing the number of buyers down a bit - though the dollar amount of the houses/condos they are buying is increasing.  The $450,000 and below price range is moving with bargain buyers being the purchasers in this price range. 

Bargain buyers are looking for deals, distress situations, and just plain motivated sellers.  They make offers that 2 years ago would have been scoffed at.  AND they are getting the prices they are looking for.  Moral of that story - make the offer - you never know what motivates a Seller.

The other price range moving is above $800,000.  These are the families and retirees getting their piece of paradise while the gettin' is good!  Prices are the  best we have seen since 1999....for the inventory that is selling.  These properties are generally near the ocean, in a resort community, or have an ocean view.

As always, there are still properties priced above the market rate....and they just sit.  Showings and previews of these properties are few and far between. 

Paradise is still here waiting for you.  Are you considering it???  Come to the Big Island and check it out!

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 13

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Photo of Tanya T Power Real Estate
Tanya T Power
Windermere / C and H Properties
PO Box 476
Kailua Kona HI 96745
8089606060
8089606060
Fax: 8089606060