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  While idly shopping for a home may be pleasant, serious homebuyers need to start the process in a lender's office, not an open house. Potential buyers benefit in several ways by consulting with a lender and obtaining a pre-approval letter. First, they have an opportunity to discuss loan options and budgeting with the lender. Second, the lender will check on their credit and alert the...

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The Fourth of July has long been a day when foreigners swear their oath of allegiance to the United States to become citizens. It is an annual reminder that the U.S. has been a nation of immigrants since its founding 241 years ago.   That tradition will continue this holiday period, when nearly 15,000 people will be sworn in as U.S. citizens at dozens of naturalization ceremonies, from...

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  A number of companies are warming up to President Donald Trump's proposal of a 20 percent border tax, which he claims is going to spur companies to build items in America and hire U.S. workers. The proposal has pitted consumer-facing companies like Target (TGT), Walmart (WMT) and Best Buy (BBY) -- and more than 100 others -- against domestic heavyweights like Boeing (BA), Caterpillar (CAT),...

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If the Trump administration's America First budget plan for 2018 ever gets approved as proposed, anyone claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or the Child Tax Credit (CTC) would face a new requirement: They must have a Social Security number and be legally authorized to work in the U.S.   Critics howl that this would deny refundable tax credits to low-income immigrants.   But U.S. citizens and legally...

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The Internal Revenue Service has many free products available for small businesses to help them understand and comply with the law. Products ranging from online calculators, printable calendars, step-by-step guides and a series of educational webinars are all available on IRS.gov.   Federal law requires most employers to withhold federal taxes from their employees' wages. IRS tools can help small businesses understand some of the requirements for withholding, reporting,...

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A proposal to gut California’s tax collection agency sits on Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk, but the state is already moving forward with parts of the overhaul, which would shift 90 percent of the agency’s responsibilities to two new state departments.   The drastic changes to the state Board of Equalization coincide with a state Department of Justice criminal investigation into allegations board members may have misused public...

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While the federal government stalls on immigration reform, some states have begun acting on their own. Much attention in the last decade has focused on Republican-dominated areas that have tightened enforcement. Meanwhile, more quietly, California moved in the opposite direction, encouraging integration rather than deportation.   California has passed more than a dozen laws on immigrant integration between 2001 and the present. In mid-June, the state expanded...

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The Los Angeles school board on Tuesday unanimously approved a set of policies that board members said would provide families with a higher level of protection from federal immigration raids.   Among the safeguards in the sweeping set of guidelines: No immigration officers will be allowed on campus without clearance from the superintendent of schools, who will consult with district lawyers. Until that happens, they won’t be...

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Partnerships do not pay tax on their profits; their partners do. Partnerships are pass-through entities that report their income, deductions, credits and other items to partners so that partners can then enter their share of this information on their personal tax returns. The partnership, as well as an entity treated as a partnership for federal income tax purposes, uses Form 1065, U.S. Return of Partnership...

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tax tips

Perhaps one shouldn’t be surprised that new real estate investors fall into the same tax traps again and again. Real estate burdens investors—especially new investors—with some tricky tax accounting.   But just because some other newbie makes these mistakes, that doesn’t mean you need to. You just need to know where the traps are so you avoid them. And here are the biggest real estate tax traps...

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