Saturday, January 26, 2013

Petition the White House to Relax Phone Unlocking Rule

I was really surprised when I read an NBC News story with the headline, "Unlocking cellphones becomes illegal Saturday".  But found the All Things Digital link below that says as long as we have the carrier's permission, we can still unlock our phone legally.  It's so nice to take our phone overseas and be able to use it by just inserting a local SIM card.

The practice of unlocking cellphones without carrier permission so you can use a device with another network will be illegal starting on Jan. 26.

The new law, which applies to devices purchased after today, came about &in October when the Library of Congress’ Register of Copyrights, which determines exemptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), ruled that unlocking cellphones and tablets without carrier permission should be illegal.

I have signed a petition on the White House web site for the removal of this ban, see link below.
  I don't understand why carriers lock the phones anyway because we can't jump to another carrier without compensating the carrier.  The goal is to gather 100,000 signatures by February 23rd.  They are way short of signatures at this time.

From both of these articles, it appears AT&T has changed its policy from 90 days to the entire term of the contract before they will unlock your phone.  This is terrible for those of us who travel overseas.

Here is a copy of the Library of Congress ruling:

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Refurb Samsung Galaxy S III Android Phone for AT&T for $30 + free shipping

If you're looking for a new cell phone and don't mind a refurbished one, here is a great deal, assuming you are either an AT&T customer or don't mind changing your carrier.

They charge you sales tax based on $550.  And of course, you must also have a data plan.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

List of IRS forms that 1040 filers can begin filing in late February or into March 2013

The following tax forms will be accepted by the IRS in late February or into March after updating forms and completing programming and testing of its processing systems. A specific date will be announced in the near future.

Form 3800 General Business Credit
Form 4136 Credit for Federal Tax Paid on Fuels
Form 4562 Depreciation and Amortization (Including Information on Listed Property)
Form 5074 Allocation of Individual Income Tax to Guam or the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands
Form 5471 Information Return of U.S. Persons With Respect to Certain Foreign Corporations
Form 5695 Residential Energy Credits
Form 5735 American Samoa Economic Development Credit
Form 5884 Work Opportunity Credit
Form 6478 Credit for Alcohol Used as Fuel
Form 6765 Credit for Increasing Research Activities
Form 8396 Mortgage Interest Credit
Form 8582 Passive Activity Loss Limitations
Form 8820 Orphan Drug Credit
Form 8834 Qualified Plug-in Electric and Electric Vehicle Credit
Form 8839 Qualified Adoption Expenses
Form 8844 Empowerment Zone and Renewal Community Employment Credit
Form 8845 Indian Employment Credit
Form 8859 District of Columbia First-Time Homebuyer Credit
Form 8864 Biodiesel and Renewable Diesel Fuels Credit
Form 8874 New Markets Credits
Form 8900 Qualified Railroad Track Maintenance Credit
Form 8903 Domestic Production Activities Deduction
Form 8908 Energy Efficient Home Credit
Form 8909 Energy Efficient Appliance Credit
Form 8910 Alternative Motor Vehicle Credit
Form 8911 Alternative Fuel Vehicle Refueling Property Credit
Form 8912 Credit to Holders of Tax Credit Bonds
Form 8923 Mine Rescue Team Training Credit
Form 8932 Credit for Employer Differential Wage Payments
Form 8936 Qualified Plug-in Electric Drive Motor Vehicle Credit

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Avoiding the Fiscal Cliff

The Senate measure of HR 8 did little to rein in huge annual budget deficits that have helped push the U.S. debt to $16.4 trillion. It would raise $620 billion in tax revenue over the coming decade.

Under the agreement, tax rates would jump to 39.6 percent from 35 percent for individual incomes over $400,000 and couples over $450,000.

Taxes on capital gains and dividends over $400,000 for individuals and $450,000 for couples would be taxed at 20 percent, up from 15 percent.

The deal would reinstate provisions to tax law that phase out personal exemptions and itemized deductions, beginning at $250,000 for single people and $300,000 for couples.

The estate tax would also rise. The value of estates over $5 million would be taxed at 40 percent, up from 35 percent. The lifetime exemption level would be indexed for inflation.

The 2% social security payroll tax holiday is allowed to expire.  But many expiring provisions are extended, some for as long as five years:
  • deduction for certain expenses of elementary and secondary school teachers through 2013.
  • exclusion from gross income of discharge of qualified principal residence indebtedness through 2013.
  • parity for exclusion from income for employer-provided mass transit and parking benefits through 2014.
  • mortgage insurance premiums treated as qualified residence interest through 2013.
  • deduction of State and local general sales taxes through 2014.
  • special rule for contributions of capital gain real property made for conservation purposes through 2013.
  • above-the-line deduction for qualified tuition and related expenses through 2013.
  • tax-free distributions from individual retirement plans for charitable purposes through 2013.
  • American Opportunity Tax Credit, through 2017.
  • earned income tax credit, through 2017.
  • certain modifications relating to child tax credit for eligible dependent through 2017, permanently increases credit amount from $500 per child to $1,000

Under the deal, the new rates on income, investment and inheritances would be permanent, as would a provision to stop the alternative minimum tax from hitting middle-class families, setting AMT exemption to $78,750 for married couples and $50,600 for singles, with inflation index adjustments.

The bill would also extend jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed for an additional year at a cost of $30 billion, and would spend $31 billion to prevent a 27 percent cut in Medicare payments to doctors.

Another $64 billion would go to renew tax breaks for businesses and for renewable energy purposes, like tax credits for energy-efficient appliances.

Click to read a copy of the Senate bill.

Click for a CCH explanation of the new American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012