29. July 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Tax News · Tags: , , ,


Which 16 States Have Sales Tax Holidays in August?

If you're buying school supplies for a college student, keep in mind that you may be able to write those expenses off on your 2014 tax return if you qualify for the American Opportunity Tax Credit—one of the tax benefits of being a parent I covered in …
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Last year there was a big change in the education credit, the American Opportunity Credit was added. With this came a change in what was allowed to be deducted. Qualified education expenses include amounts spent on books, supplies, and equipment needed for a course of study, whether or not the materials are purchased from the educational institution as a condition of enrollment or attendance.
The hope and lifetime learning credits: Qualified education expenses include only amounts for books, supplies and equipment required to be paid to the institution as a condition of enrollment or attendance.
This credit went from a nonrefundable credit to 40%of credit may be a refundable: the rest is a nonrefundable credit. Meaning you could actually receive money back on it.
In the past most people did not have any taxable income so they did not get to take advantage of this credit. Under the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act (ARRA) more parents and students will qualify over the next two years for a tax credit, the American Opportunity Credit, to pay for college expenses.
The new credit modifies the existing Hope Credit for tax years 2013 and 2014, making the Hope Credit available to a broader range of taxpayers, including many with higher incomes and those who owe no tax. It also adds required course materials to the list of qualifying expenses and allows the credit to be claimed for four post-secondary education years instead of two. Many of those eligible will qualify for the maximum annual credit of $ 2,500 per student. The full credit is available to individuals whose modified adjusted gross income is $ 80,000 or less, or $ 160,000 or less for married couples filing a joint return. The credit is phased out for taxpayers with income above these levels. These income limits are higher than under the existing Hope and Lifetime Learning Credits.
The Hope credit generally applies to 2008 & earlier tax years. It helps parents and students pay for post-secondary education. The Hope credit is a nonrefundable credit. This meant that it can reduce your tax to zero, but if the credit is more than your tax the excess will not be refunded to you. The Hope credit you are allowed may be limited by the amount of your income and the amount of your tax.
The Hope credit is for the payment of the first two years of tuition and related expenses for an eligible student for whom the taxpayer claims an exemption on the tax return. Normally, you can claim tuition and required enrollment fees paid for your own, as well as your dependents’ college education. The Hope credit targets the first two years of post-secondary education, and an eligible student must be enrolled at least half time. Generally, you can claim the Hope credit if all three of the following requirements are met:
You pay qualified education expenses of higher education.
You pay the education expenses for an eligible student.
The eligible student is either yourself, your spouse or a dependent of whom you claim an exemption on your tax return.
You cannot take both an education credit and a deduction for tuition and fees for the same student in the same year. In some cases, you may do better by claiming the tuition and fees deduction instead of the Hope credit.


Phoenix, AZ (PRWEB) July 24, 2014

Meritus Health Partners, recently licensed by the Arizona Department of Insurance, is Arizonas first and only health insurance CO-OP (Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan). Established under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Meritus has launched and will begin offering a variety of health insurance plans on the federally-run online Health Insurance Marketplace and through traditional insurance sales channels beginning Oct. 1.

Were a new model for Arizona that will lead the way to better health for our community, said Meritus Health Partners CEO Kathleen Oestreich. Our mission as a CO-OP is to improve and maintain every members health. A year from now, we want our members to be healthier than when they first enrolled with us.

The CO-OP will be member-governed, meaning members will make up a majority of its board and will have a voice in how it is run by providing feedback on product design and access to care, among other thingsthus continually striving to improve its members health.

Meritus, as a health insurance cooperative, is required to reinvest profits back into the organization for the members benefit through lower premiums, improved benefits and expanded servicessomething that sets Meritus apart from other health insurance companies, Oestreich said. Its the notion that it takes a joint effortour members working alongside our staff and healthcare partnersto achieve results that the traditional insurance system has struggled with.

Meritus will offer 30 benefit plans including Gold, Silver and Bronze HMO and PPO plans initially in Maricopa, Pima, Pinal, Cochise and Santa Cruz counties, and is intended to expand statewide as the provider network continues to grow. To promote its vision for a healthier Arizona, some of the plans include incentives for Arizonans to beand stayhealthy, including reimbursement for gym membership, alternative therapies and copay-only plans that promote the use of primary care and adherence to chronic care medications.

The key to achieving a good quality of life is to have access to quality healthcare services that will help people achieve better overall health. Sadly, far too many Arizonans are uninsured, which creates barriers to access healthcare, said John McDonald, CEO of the Arizona Alliance for Community Health Centers. But new community-based health plans, like Meritus Health Partners, are going to change the insurance landscape. Meritus is creating new opportunities to access healthcare coverage by removing barriers and making insurance more affordable for all individuals regardless of their income level. I applaud Meritus in its efforts to improve the quality of life for Arizonans.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are more than 1 million uninsured Arizonans. The ACA requires Americans to have health coverage unless they fall under a specific exemption, including religious beliefs and U.S. citizenship status. Those who arent exempt and dont obtain health coverage will face penalties that will increase each year. Under the new guidelines, no health insurance provider can deny any individual for a pre-existing condition, thereby making it possible for scores of Arizonans to obtain coverage.

Many Arizonans with incomes up to 400 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) will also qualify for low-cost coverage due to the tax credit subsidies made available through the ACA. Purchasing insurance on the Health Insurance Marketplace (commonly referred to as the Exchange or Marketplace) will allow individuals to use their tax credits, and Meritus Health Partners will have products on the Marketplace that will be eligible for purchase with a tax credit subsidy. Individuals eligible for subsidies must use the online Marketplace to purchase coverage in order to receive assistance. The open enrollment period is from Oct. 1, 2014 through March 31, 2014.

Because were local in Arizona, we know that health care is local and every communitys needs are different, Oestreich said. We understand the needs of Arizonans because we live here, too.

Selvoy Fillerup, M.D., is the Founder Emeritus of Meritus Health Partners.

About Meritus Health Partners

Meritus Health Partners is an Arizona member-governed non-profit health insurance model operating as a CO-OP (Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan) established through a loan provision from HHS under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Meritus has worked with The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services for the past year to establish the company as well with the State Department of Insurance for state licensing requirements. The company was created to provide more accessible and affordable health insurance coverage options to individuals, families and small businesses so that we can work together for better health. Our goal is to help people make better choices for their healthcare.

Meritus Health Partners is based in Tempe, Ariz., and is organized as a non-profit.

For more information, please visit http://www.meritushealthpartners.com.



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