Search Results for 'tax'

2008 free tax help for some in Alaska

Free Tax Help – 2008 Tax-Aide and VITA sites. The VITA program is a federal grant that rural senior programs can apply for.

This program is designed to prepare basic tax returns for most low and middle income taxpayers, with an emphasis on senior citizens and disabled taxpayers. Sites are staffed by volunteers trained by the IRS to prepare basic tax returns. E-file means it’s fast, accurate AND it’s absolutely FREE. Volunteers receive training on the Earned Income Credit and other personal tax credits. If your income is below $39,783 you MAY qualify for an Earned Income Credit, up to $4,716.

*** You must file a 2007 tax return to receive the Economic Stimulus Payments. To be eligible for this payment, you must have a tax liability, or at least $3000 of earned income, Social Security benefits, or certain VA benefits. If you had at $3,000 of qualifying income, you should file a tax return even if you are not required.

AARP TaxAide sites may offer priority service to taxpayers age 60 and older.

As all locations are staffed by volunteers using donated space, these dates and times may change. To get the most current information, please call the Alaska 211 referral line by dialing 2-1-1, or 1-800- 478-2221. [try this and see if it works. There were problems last week or so– the software couldn’t figure out rural Alaska zip codes.]

NO COST ELECTRONIC FILING AVAILABLE

WHAT TO BRING
Social security cards or current record of SSN’s for you, spouse and all dependents.
Form W-2 (Wage and Tax Statement) from each employer.
All income information (such as Forms 1099-INT, 1099-DIV, SSA-1099 or RRB-1099 and 1099R).
Record of VA benefits received
Property tax and mortgage interest statements.
List of your medical, interest, contributions, and miscellaneous expenses (to itemize your deductions).
Copies of last year’s tax return (helps volunteer prepare this year’s return).
Child care payment information and name, address and SSN/EIN of your child care provider.

The rest of the document is written in a way to make it difficult to re-post so I’ll only list the names of places. Contact them for hours and dates.

  • Anchorage Senior Center Tax-Aide
  • Northeast Anchorage Tax-Aide
  • First Free Methodist, Anchorage
  • Spenard Rec Center
  • Crosspoint Church Tax-Aide, Anchorage
  • University of Alaska Anchorage
  • Palmer Senior Center
  • Mid-Valley Senior Center
  • Wasilla Senior Center
  • Upper Susitna Senior Housing
  • Glacier View Bible Church
  • Willow Senior Housing
  • Fairbanks Senior Center Tax-Aide
  • North Pole Library Tax-Aide
  • University of Alaska Fairbanks
  • Noel Wien Library Tax-Aide
  • North Pole Senior Center Tax-Aide
  • Nikiski Senior Citizens, Inc.
  • Homer Senior Center
  • Seward Senior Center
  • AVTEC Library (Seward)
  • Soldotna Tax-Aide Site
  • University of Alaska, SE
  • Swan Lake Senior Center
  • United Methodist Church, Sitka
  • Tongass Credit Union
  • Rendesvous Senior Center
  • Ketchikan Parks & Rec Center
  • Metlakatla Tongass Credit Union
  • Craig City Youth Center
  • Juneau Mendenhall Library
  • Wrangell Senior Center
  • Kodiak College
  • Valdez Tax-Aide
  • Kodiak Senior Citizen Fair

Bethel fuel sales tax corrected

Ordinance 06-05, to amend the sales tax code to provide an exemption for senior citizens’ heating fuel, was finally passed on 2006 July 25. The vote was 4 to 2 and 1 abstention. For, Hugh Dyment, Tundy Rogers, Andy McGowen, Mary Kenick. Against, Thor Williams, Dan Leinberger. Abstain, citing conflict of interest, David Trantham.

The ordinance was originally submitted in February 2006 by Councilor Trantham and again by Councilor Rogers. Hearings occurred at the March 28, April 11, April 25, June 13, and July 25 council meetings. The delay in action was a result of examining the costs of modifying the exemption (by the finance committee) and the request by several councilors to have the ordinance re-written. The ordinance was not re-written and was finally voted upon.

The finance department estimated that perhaps 85 people would take advantage of the exemption. A limited ad hoc survey found elders can be paying $350 to $600 per month for 75 to 100 gallons (coldest months). The City might lose $14,700 in annual tax; seniors might save $173 per year.

It should be noted —

  • as the finance department notes, there are no data on who might use the exemption and how many gallons of fuel oil (diesel) would be involved
  • 75 to 100 gallons a month seems like a lot of fuel. The amount depends primarily on the quality of housing and heating. For older people who are enrolled tribal members, their tribe or tribal housing consortium has a trust responsibility to ensure adequate housing

The finance committee recommended unanimously against the ordinance because it might result in requests for special treatment or exemptions from other groups and individuals. Churches were used as a specific example. Therefore, correcting the fuel oversight would result in a drain on City finances.

Councilor Dyment promised to create an ordinance for the next council meeting, which would cut $24,000 from other City services because of the senior exemption.

It should also be noted —

  • the ordinance corrects an oversight in the existing municipal code which grants a recognition to older Bethel people, because they are older, and is not means tested
  • some, but not all, churches currently have a city government subsidy (reduced garbage fees).
  • sales tax income is not guaranteed income for budgeting purposes
  • as the price of fuel goes up, the number of gallons sold tends to decrease. Why cut $24,000?
  • this is not the first time that the elderly have been blamed for City deficits

Exemptions and subsidies do subtract from potential City income. As you can see below, elders’ exemptions are only R, S, and T of the alphabet list. There was no data presented as to the financial hit of senior exemptions out of the total exempted sales tax income. If the issue were one merely of tax income and city spending, then perhaps all exemptions should be revoked, not just the ones for older people.

Certainly, the illegal exemptions should be revoked first.
[ORDINANCE #04-28, AN ORDINANCE AMENDING SECTION 13.16.010 OF THE BETHEL MUNICIPAL CODE TO REMOVE CHURCHES FROM A MONTHLY FLAT RATE OF $45.00 TO A RESIDENTIAL SERVICE RATE WITH A FLAT RATE OF $12.00. Introduced by: City Manager Herron Date: November 30, 2004
Public Hearing: January 11, 2004, Action: Adopted
Vote: 4-2 (Rodgers, Dyment)
ENACTED THIS 11th DAY OF JANUARY, 2005 by a vote of 4 in favor and 2 opposed. Hugh Dyment, Mayor]

Initially, the Finance Director said eight churches would qualify; then eleven. But there are 16 announced places of worship in the newspaper. And there are other organizations with Federal tax exemptions as churches.

The Supreme Court has held that “[t]he First Amendment mandates governmental neutrality between religion and religion, and between religion and nonreligion.” Epperson v. Arkansas, 393 U.S. 97, 104 (1968).

This principle of neutrality “is part of our settled jurisprudence” and “prohibits government from abandoning secular purposes in order to put an imprimatur on one religion, or on religion as such, or to favor the adherents of any sect or religious organization. ” Texas Monthly, Inc. v. Bullock, 489 U.S. 1, 8-9 (1989) (plurality opinion) (quoting Gillette, 401 U.S. at 450). According to the text of the ordinance, the purpose for allowing churches to receive the same rates as residences for solid waste collection is that “churches are not like an ordinary business for profit” and “churches receive gifts and donations (not revenue), so Chapter 13.16.010 of the Code should charge churches with the lowest charge for solid waste services so as to treat churches fairly.”

Although government may provide a benefit to religious organizations without violating the Establishment Clause, the government must either provide this benefit to both religious and non-religious organizations that meet the same neutral criteria or the benefit must lift a substantial burden on the exercise of religion. Here, it is extremely unlikely that the commercial charge of $45 for solid waste collection places a substantial burden on the exercise of religion.

Thus, the ordinance can only be justified if it is extended to non-religious organizations as well. While it is true that residential dwellings receive the lower rate, if the city is going to extend the lower rate to churches, it should also extend the same rate to nonprofit organizations because the same rationale that was put forward for allowing churches to pay the lower rate (they do not have any revenue) would also apply to nonprofit organizations. Now, it may be the case that Bethel has no nonprofit organizations, which is why they were not included in the ordinance.

The Supreme Court has also held that providing a government benefit to one religious denomination while denying it to another constitutes an unconstitutional preference for one religion over others. See Bd. of Educ. v. Grumet, 512 U.S. 687, 706-07 (1994) (“whatever the limits of permissible legislative accommodations may be, it is clear that neutrality as among religions must be honored”).

Fuel oil sales tax was overlooked in the city codes which provide —

4.16.040 Exemptions.
R. The sale to a senior citizen of food intended for consumption by the senior citizen, his or her spouse living in the same household, or the unemancipated minor children of either the senior citizen or his or her spouse, who live in the same household. The senior citizen shall display at the time of the sale a current and valid senior citizen exemption certificate issued to the person under Section 4.16.050C of this chapter. For purposes of this subsection, “food” is defined in accordance with 7 U.S.C. 2012(g) (definition of “food” for purposes of the Food Stamp Act);
S. The payment of rent by a senior citizen on a single dwelling occupied as the senior citizen’s primary residence and permanent place of abode. The senior citizen shall provide proof at the time of payment of a current and valid senior citizen exemption certificate issued to the person under Section 4.16.050C of this chapter;
T. Payment for telephone, electric, water sewer utility services by a senior citizen on a single dwelling occupied as the senior citizen’s primary residence and permanent place of abode. The senior citizen shall provide proof at the time of payment of a current and valid senior citizen exemption certificate issued to the person under Section 4.16.050C of this chapter;

There is an additional credit —

13.16.070 Senior citizen credit.
A.
Any Bethel citizen at least sixty years of age residing in their own household shall receive up to a twenty-five-dollar monthly utility credit, if they are the primary source of income, after making application for such at the city utilities office.

B. All other Bethel citizens at least sixty years of age that do not meet the conditions of subsection A of this section shall receive up to a ten-dollar monthly utility credit after making application for such to the city utilities office.

C. Each residential unit shall be limited to one credit application. (Modification 2 of Ord. 85, 1980: prior code § 11.16.080)


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Sarah Palin, the elderly, the disabled, older Americans and rural Alaska

[revised]

naomidagenbloom 2008 September 2

Vuee, Vuee, We need to hear MORE from you now about the way Alaska has come into our consciousness via your governor–the believer in “stakeholders.”

Readers can’t get off that easy, Little Red Hen— what questions do folks have?

The reason I have been rather quiet, blogwise, is because the news from rural Alaska about living there isn’t good. There has been next to nothing improved since earlier posts, this includes the past 18 months of the personable Gov. Sarah Palin. I’ll give examples below, but they sound depressing. So readers, what do enquiring minds want to know? If nothing else, I can at least point you to some good sources of facts or commentary from Alaska perspective.

An older friend of mine (from Tucson) sends this musing upon the early photo of Sarah Palin and her caribou ( http://newsminer.com/photos/galleries/2008/sep/01/sarah-palin-growing-alaskan/1156/. It is the photo of the red-nosed caribou NOT a reindeer.)

>My deep reflections, caribou inspired::
1. Macho women don’t need to wear pantsuits to assert themselves.
2. Most currently popular female names go from my daughter Michelle to my mother Sarah.
3. Sarah definitely shoots better than Dick. How about Joe’s expertise with firearms?
4. Candidates should not be judged only on basis of age, gender, and looks.
5. Candidate’s children are given on-stage prominence. It should be unfair to have the youngest ones debate politics, but what about having a food fight?

————————————-

  • there’s the older gentleman who is resigning himself to move 400 miles away from home to be near his grandkids because his grown children had to move to Anchorage to find work to meet the utilities payments
  • there’s all the older people who need an assisted living arrangement or nursing home (a 400 mile trip, if one can afford to get into Bethel from the village to get on the jet)
  • there’s fuel oil at $6-15 a gallon
  • there’s the Bush-Cheney stimulus payments which only went to those who have taxable income. They don’t go to those who cashed in IRAs early to pay electricity or who struggle to make sense of their returns.
  • there’s electricity at 40 cents or more per kilowatt hour (with a subsidy for residences) in rural Alaska (Wasilla pays considerably less, without subsidy)
  • there’s gasoline, needed to go out and “grocery shop” on the tundra or out in the river, at $6 to $18 gallon.
  • there’s gaining grandmother status at 34
  • there’s raising grandchildren at 70
  • there’s having your one-time $1200 “energy check” from the state stolen by your children for smokes and booze

2008-09-04 Look guys, what someone else found
gov-sarah-palin-call-in-kyuk/

2008-09-04 Fact Check of Governor Palin’s Speech http://progressivealaska.blogspot.com/2008/09/saradise-lost-chapter-twenty-five-obama.html

PALIN: “Senator McCain also promises to use the power of veto in defense of the public interest – and as a chief executive, I can assure you it works.”
REALITY: PALIN OPPOSED CRUCIAL EDUCATION, HEALTH CARE AND SENIORS FUNDING […]

Andrew Halcro does a fine job at http://www.andrewhalcro.com/grading_palins_speech_a

Also: tech support has a listing of reasonable sources at Sarah Palin content

2008-10-27 Palin’s gaffe about her policy on “special needs” while her record shows she has none
http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/BlueOasis/~3/431498178/showDiary.do


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Alaska day program first national center of excellence (not Bethel)

This is outstanding and goes along with our nationally certified senior center in Kodiak.

Salvation Army center lauded for dementia care program

The Salvation Army Serendipity Adult Day Center in Anchorage has received the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America award as an “Excellence in Care Dementia Program of Distinction.” The Salvation Army center is the first adult day care to receive the national honor. The center offers meaningful activities daily to about 30 adults with special needs, the foundation said. The award “validates what I feel is the culmination of years of hard work constantly trying to be on the cutting edge of new and innovative ideas in working with individuals who live with dementia and their families,” said Jesalyn Stanton, the center’s executive director. […]
Published: January 1st, 2008 http://www.adn.com/money/story/251697.html

Press release

NEW YORK, NY – The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA) recently awarded its “Excellence in Care Dementia Program of Distinction” status to the nation’s first adult day center and three more assisted living facilities that have achieved AFA’s nationwide standard of excellence for facilities that provide care to individuals with Alzheimer’s disease or related illnesses. The Salvation Army Serendipity Adult Day Center, Anchorage, AK, is the first adult day center to receive the distinction. Also awarded Excellence in Care status are the memory care units within these facilities: Warwick Forest, Newport News, VA; The Catholic Care Center, Bel Aire, KS; and The Birches, Clarendon Hills, IL. […]

For more information about Excellence in Care, visit www.excellenceincare.org or call 866-AFA-8484.

In Bethel, we’ve made some progress. Those in the day program are no longer segregated to the loft upstairs. It also seems that older people are no longer forced to enroll in the program (in order to bring in more Medicaid money). The same old puzzles and BINGO are available for everyone.

The assisted living home is still promised by the Yukon Kuskokwim Health Corp. — to open in 2005 next to the assisted living home built in 1997 by AVCP Housing and never used as such (then promised to start construction in 2006 for 2008 opening https://theelderlies.wordpress.com/2007/01/21/bethels-assisted-living-home-construction-2006/) and now promised for 2nnn Bethel senior day center sign

In the meantime, the City of Bethel raised the sales tax by 20% starting next week– not to fund senior programs or public transportation or disaster preparedness or public infrastructure or to keep the utility rates from going up, but for annual maintenance of a not-yet built swimming pool. As one local elite stated, the poor and elders won’t feel the regressive tax because they get food stamps.

The tax increase won’t go towards any improvement in “community policing” either. Bethel relies heavily on the police to do the things neighbors, family, and friends would rather not. There are now 3 police officers, instead of 12. The elder abuse hot line [1-800-478-9996] was forewarned last August when this became obvious. Unfortunately, the State of Alaska elder abuse hotline is just one person, although assisted by one or two field investigators.


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Alphabetical listing (mas o menos)

2003 what the City’s intentions are

2004 Nursing Homes: what LTC providers learned from battling four hurricanes

2004- Elderly in Florida at risk in every hurricane season

2006 AI/AN data report from US Census 2000

2006 National Adult Day Services Week

A push for stay-at-home healthcare

A say in one’s or other’s life?

AARP Bulletin: Blogosphere 101

AGS Foundation for Health in Aging

AMERICAN INDIAN AND ALASKA NATIVE LONG TERM CARE CONFERENCE 2006

Academic Geriatric Nursing Capacity Awards

Activism At All Ages

Activity and exercise

Administration on Aging Pandemic Preparation

Administration on Aging Region X: AK, ID, OR, WA

After Katrina, transplanted Creoles vow to keep culture alive

Age at retirement and long term survival of an industrial population BMJ

Age by decade

Continue reading ‘Alphabetical listing (mas o menos)’

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