Tech tip on behaving online, another tax tip, how flour costs are affecting businesses and more.
Tech Tip: Etiquette 2.0: A Guide to Online Manners
New laws about online harassment have put online bullying center stage in the headlines recently. While much of the recent news focuses on adolescents and teenagers being bullied on the Internet instead of the playground, the problem of online bullying transcends age. It can affect anyone participating in blogs, social networks or even those using e-mail. Fortunately, some of what might be seen as bullying could just be a case of improper etiquette. Following proper online etiquette can help those on the Internet navigate the virtual world with social grace and manners, no matter the level of their online activity.
Sheelagh Manheim and Jack Jonathan, co-authors of "Yes, You Can … Find More Meaning in Your Life" and contributors to www.YesYouCanOnline.info, offer the following tips about online manners:
- Use good grammar and punctuation.
- Use language you would use in person.
- Follow the golden rule and communicate online as you would want others to communicate with you.
- Be aware of the recipient's values when you send e-mail jokes, political cartoons or religious stories.
- Remember, the Web is a public medium. Be careful that what you say is not too private.
- Don't gossip or spread rumors.
- Don't harass people with too many e-mails.
- Avoid sharing intimate feelings.
It’s baseball season, and that unfortunately often means unhealthy-snacks season. According to Forbes, these are the unhealthiest ballpark snack options out there:
1. All-you-can-eat seats
3. Super nachos
4. Deep-fried treats
5. Creative meats (burger with bacon, etc.)
Number to Know: 1.8
Percent drop in home sales in February, according to the Commerce Department, a 13-year low.
Quotes of Note
"Last year we were paying $9.50 for a 50-pound bag of flour. Last week that same bag cost $34."
Jim Agatucci, owner of Agatucci’s Restaurant in Peoria, Ill.
“The price of flour has gone up threefold. I can’t raise my prices with the prices (of flour) because I’ll lose customers.”
Steven Barton, owner of Hazel’s Bakery in Needham, Mass.
Tip of the Week: Facing Foreclosure? You May be Eligible for Tax Relief
Another in our weekly series of tax tips.
When your home is losing value and your family is facing the financial stress of foreclosure, the last thing you need is to be hit with an enormous tax bill. The Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007 helps protect Americans facing foreclosure from higher taxes while they attempt to refinance a home mortgage.
This temporary act creates a three-year window for some homeowners to refinance their mortgage and pay no taxes on any debt forgiveness that they receive. This means if the value of your home drops and your bank or lender forgives a portion of your mortgage, the federal government won’t treat that amount as taxable income. This exclusion only applies to discharges made after 2006 and before 2010. Additionally, the basis of the principal residence must be reduced (but not below zero) by the amount excluded from gross income.
“To claim mortgage tax forgiveness on your 2007 tax return, taxpayers need to complete IRS Form 982 – Reduction of Tax Attributes Due to Discharge of Indebtedness (and Section 1082 Basis Adjustment),” says Stephanie Behrends of 2nd Story Software, makers of the popular TaxACT tax preparation software and online services. However, because it wasn’t until late December that lawmakers signed this legislation into law, the IRS only just started accepting the form via e-file on March 3.
Because not all taxpayers whose homes have been foreclosed are eligible to claim mortgage tax forgiveness, it may be necessary to consult a tax professional or attorney prior to submitting Form 982 to the IRS.
More information regarding The Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007 can be found online at www.IRS.gov. Use key word “Form 982.”
GateHouse News Service