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  • The Season of Giving? Dec 15, 2014 3:45 PM
    Just like the holidays, it’s never too early to begin planning for the 2014 income tax filing season. The following are several tax savings strategies aimed at helping taxpayers minimize their income tax bills. As always, please remember to speak with a qualified tax professional about your specific tax situation. Defer your income The basic idea is to shift income out of this year and into next year, thereby allowing you to postpone paying tax on the income for the time being. Here are several common examples of the application of this strategy: • Ask your boss to hold off on paying your bonus until January 2015. • Put more money into your tax-deferred 401(k) retirement plan before year end. • Make tax-deductible contributions to your IRA for the 2014 tax year by April 15, 2015. • Hold off on selling certain “appreciated” assets that will generate a capital gain until after the new year. • If you’re self-employed, delay sending customer invoices for year-end projects until after the new year. Accelerate tax deductible home expenses Owning your home provides two key tax deductions which you can use by year-end to reduce your current year’s tax bill. Make your January mortgage payment by Dec. 31 and deduct the mortgage interest on the extra payment on your 2014 tax return. The same is true for early property tax payments. Be sure to consider the impact, if any, of the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) on the accelerated property tax payment strategy as property taxes are not deductible under the AMT rules. Use a “bunching” strategy for certain types of deductible expenses Medical and dental expenses, to the extent they exceed 10 percent of your adjusted gross income (AGI) and miscellaneous expenses, to the extent they exceed two percent of AGI are deductible. The most common miscellaneous expenses are unreimbursed employee business expenses and investment management fees. To get over this deduction “hurdle,” consider combining eligible expenses. This strategy, known as bunching deductions, will push them into one tax year where you can make maximum tax use of them. Accelerate other deductible expenses into 2014 Unlike medical, dental and miscellaneous expenses, charitable donations are fully deductible without any AGI limitations. Consider making large charitable donations (either cash or non-cash) before year end to obtain the benefit of the deduction on this year’s return. Make sure that you maintain copies of all receipts for your charitable donations in the event of a tax audit. A donor advised fund is an excellent tool for coordinating your charitable giving program.

     
  • Business Coach to Speak on Procrastination in Lake Zurich, Friday Noon Dec 15, 2014 3:43 PM
    Even business people who get a lot done always have one or two tasks that they put off, sometimes forever. Friday’s speaker at the Lake Zurich Rotary Club, Dan Mendelevitz, will talk about how and why to stop feeling guilty about procrastinating so you get more done. “We all do it. We all justify it. Why do we procrastinate and what can we do about it?” asks Mendelevitz. “How does this affect your search, your work, your life? Is there good procrastination? How do you get back to what you know you should be doing? Do you want to do things better in 2015?” Mendelevitz is associated with FocalPoint Chicagoland, a nationwide network of business coaches. The Lake Zurich Rotary Club meets on Fridays for lunch at 12:15 p.m. at the Holiday Inn Express, 197 S. Rand Rd., Lake Zurich. Area business people are welcome to attend and have lunch free of charge for their first meeting.

     
  • Fine-tune your swing at Royal Melbourne Golf Academy Dec 10, 2014 6:49 PM
    Opened in 2013, the Royal Melbourne Golf Academy has given the opportunity for golfers to improve their swing, even in winter.

     
  • Local Mom Develops Spiritual Website For Her & Kids Dec 15, 2014 3:21 PM
    The struggle of a small group of suburban Chicago mothers looking to find a spiritual outlet for themselves and their children has led to the introduction of Spiritual Playdate, an interfaith website that provides age-appropriate tools to foster dialogue and exploration of spiritual concepts and beliefs.

     
  • Northwestern Mutual Honors Spengel with Forum Membership Dec 15, 2014 3:23 PM
    Northwestern Mutual is honoring Skokie financial representative Keith P. Spengel, CLU®, CLTC, CFP® with membership in its 2014 Forum Group, which recognizes individuals for an outstanding year of helping clients achieve financial security.

     
  • Stevenson varsity poms team dance has inspirational message Dec 10, 2014 9:53 PM
    The Stevenson varsity poms competition season starts this winter. It will end, if they qualify for the state competition, on Jan. 30, 2015.

     
  • Libertyville realty group gives Thanksgiving meals to families in need Dec 15, 2014 1:49 PM
    For more than 20 years, the agents and staff of the Koenig & Strey Libertyville office, now Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices KoenigRubloff Realty Group, have collected donations and prepared complete Thanksgiving meals for less-fortunate Lake County families.

     
  • Sedgebrook residents honor veterans with ceremony Dec 8, 2014 9:31 AM
    In a solemn and inspiring ceremony, Sedgebrook residents honored veterans today: those now living beside them at the Lincolnshire retirement community, those lost in the four wars during their lifetime and all those who served in our military and their families.

     
  • Sedgebrook woodworker brings new life to old finds Dec 8, 2014 1:18 PM
    Don Hollenbeck is disturbed by “move-in-ready” home makeover TV shows. “I can’t understand how people can just come into a place with things that someone else has picked out and set up for them,” said the woodworker and resident of Sedgebrook, a senior living community in Lincolnshire.

     
  • Keep the family entertained this winter Dec 7, 2014 1:42 PM
    Looking to keep the kids busy during winter break? Trying to plan something fun to get you in the mood for the holidays? The area offers plenty of holiday events, including outdoor activities perfect for a sunny day and indoor fun for when you need a break from the cold.

     
  • Irish tenor brings ‘Christmas from Ireland’ to CLC Dec 16, 2014 12:17 PM
    Michael Londra, the Irish tenor best known as the voice of “Riverdance” on Broadway, will present “A Christmas from Ireland,” a performance told in song, dance and story.

     
  • New HVAC Installer Technician Certificate offered at CLC Dec 15, 2014 1:49 PM
    A new 18-credit, flexible Fast Track-HVAC Installation Technician Certificate is being launched by the College of Lake County’s Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning Technology program in January 2015 (pending approval by the Illinois Community College Board).

     
  • CLC Children’s Learning Centers earn state quality award Dec 15, 2014 8:50 AM
    The Children’s Learning Centers at the College of Lake County’s Grayslake and Lakeshore campuses have been recognized by the state as Gold Circle of Quality centers.

     
  • CLC Music Department presents three December concerts Dec 8, 2014 10:14 AM
    CLC Music Department presents three December concerts Three festive concerts by College of Lake County Music Department ensembles will be presented in December. The Wind Ensemble’s Holiday Concert will be held at 3:30 p.m. on Dec. 14, the Holiday Choral Concert will be presented at 7 p.m. on Dec. 14 and the Concert Band will perform at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 17.

     
  • Stick to simple healthy hints to stay on track this holiday season Dec 5, 2014 10:52 PM
    Americans gain one to two pounds between the Thanksgiving feast and the New Year countdown. Some do not lose those extra pounds and add weight cumulatively every year. Simple, smart selections this holiday season can help avoid this annual obstacle and set up a positive start to 2015. “The best strategy for the holidays is to aim for weight maintenance,” said Laura Barr, Nutrition and Wellness Educator with University of Illinois Extension.

     
  • Palatine area chamber announces Key to Success Award winners Dec 15, 2014 9:40 AM
    The Palatine Area Chamber of Commerce held its Key to Success Awards and Installation Dinner on Wednesday, Dec. 3, at Cotillion Banquets in Palatine.

     
  • AOIIs Gather Twice: To Meet on Dec. 10 in Inverness and To Lunch on Dec. 17 Dec 5, 2014 7:01 AM
    AOIIs Gather Twice: To Meet on Dec. 10 in Inverness and To Lunch on Dec. 17

     
  • CLC dance troupe to present Winter Dance Concert Dec 2, 2014 9:12 AM
    The annual Winter Dance Concert will be presented by the College of Lake County Dance Department’s Prairie Spirits Dance Troupe on Dec. 5, 6 and 7 in the Mainstage Theatre of the James Lumber Center for the Performing Arts on the Grayslake campus.

     
  • Community Advocacy Program Now Open for Applications Dec 2, 2014 8:58 AM
    People with disabilities who want to become leaders in the disability community and are interested in making a difference in society are invited to take part in a community advocacy program offered by the Lake County Center for Independent Living.

     
  • Community advocacy program now open for applications Dec 2, 2014 1:04 PM
    Lake County Center for Independent Living Community Advocacy Program is taking applications for new members.

     
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