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Pinellas International Council 6th Annual Global Symposium-Thank you to David Bennett CEO of PRO, John-Paul Mario Chair of the PRO Business Affiliates, Susan Inez-Poskus CPA from Roberge Poskus, Maria Grulich from Florida Realtors, Bill Risser, VP of Digital Strategy from Fidelity National Title, Don Gonzalez Attorney, Carlos Fuentes NAR instructor, the nearly 100 attendees and all of the PRO Affiliates who sponsored this informative event. Thank you all for making this such great day!!

Don’t get left out of this important market! Did you know that 22% of all International buyers in the USA bought property in Florida? International buyers are a significant component of the Florida real estate market. 74% purchase with cash & spend an average of $174, 624 for their Florida-based home. According to National Association of Realtors, between April 2015 & March 2016, two out of three Florida Realtors worked with International buyers last year

Please join us for this very informative day. Excellent speakers & 3 hours of CE credit too!

NOW IS THE TIME to get involved with International Real Estate. Attend our Pinellas International Council’s 6th Annual Global Symposium and learn the proper way to work with buyers & sellers from around the world ! Register here: http://www.calendarwiz.com/calendars/popup.php?op=view&id=108868777&crd=pro

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PROFarm Neighborhood Advocates
Penny for Pinellas (January 2017)


Infrastructure is critical to our economic growth, and obviously economic growth impacts the value of your home. Taxes, namely property taxes, also impact real estate. For the last thirty years Pinellas County has levied a 1 cent sales tax to pay for roads, police and fire stations, bridges, etc. In November 2017 voters will decide if the penny tax will continue.

In 1989, 1997, and 2007 Pinellas County citizens voted to increase their sales tax by 1 cent to fund needed infrastructure projects. The goal was to make long-term investments in our future without putting the burden completely on property owners. There were needs across the county and elected leaders were facing the prospect of raising property taxes to fill the funding void. Instead, they put it to the voters for a 1 cent tax, and this Fall they will have the option to re-authorize that tax again.

Penny for Pinellas FAQs:

  • Is the tax permanent? No. As the voters have done three times prior, this vote would authorize the Penny for ten more years, specifically the fiscal years of 2020-2030. If passed in the Fall, voters would have the opportunity to re-authorize again in 2027.

 

  • Who gets the money? The county collects the funds and keeps some for its own infrastructure projects. The majority of the money is spread out to the 24 cities in Pinellas County for various needs. They do have to submit their list of projects prior to the vote, and that list is public. Voters will be able to decide if the projects are worthy of the increased tax.

 

  • What happens if the re-authorization fails? A wide range of projects deemed necessary by many while either not be funded, or elected officials could decide to increase property taxes.

 

  • Where could I find more information about the Penny? The county has set up a website with lots of useful information including list of projects, and the history of Penny for Pinellas. It is www.pinellascounty.org/penny/

This issue has the potential to affect you and our local economy, so I thought that you might be interested. If you have questions regarding this or any real estate needs, please feel free to email me at AnnalisaWeller1@gmail.com or call me at 727-804-6566.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – 2016 – The runaway winner in the primary election was at the end of the ballot, as voters in Florida overwhelmingly approved a tax break to encourage businesses to go solar.

The amendment, which will become part of the Florida Constitution, exempts solar and other renewable energy devices on business and industrial property from property taxes for 20 years. The same tax break already exists for residential property owners.

The amendment also exempts renewable energy devices from Florida’s tangible personal property tax.

Amendment 4, the only ballot question in Tuesday’s primary, won more than 70 percent of the vote, according to early returns by the Florida Division of Elections.

Backers of Amendment 4 were all along the political spectrum, including the pro-environment Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, Nature Conservancy and Florida Conservation Voters, and the business-backed Florida Chamber of Commerce, Florida Retail Federation and Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association.

Business groups like tax relief, and environmental groups hope it will now encourage more talk in the conservative state Capitol about climate change and the need to cut dependency on fossil fuels.

“With all of this sunshine, why are we importing so much fossil fuel to power our state?” asked Pete Wilking of A1A Solar in Jacksonville.

“Stop sea levels from rising! Vote Yes on 4!” tweeted an advocacy group, Women4Solar.

The opposition was led by the Rev. Al Sharpton, the TV and radio talk show host and president of the National Action Network (NAN), and Bishop Victor Curry of Miami, NAN’s southeast regional director, who said they opposed “unnecessary and unjust tax breaks for corporations.”

It was one of the most cost-effective referendum campaigns in Florida history, as supporters raised less than $150,000.

Lacking the money for a TV ad campaign, supporters built support networks on Facebook and Twitter (hashtag #Yeson4) to mobilize voters.

Voters said yes to solar, even if they did not always fully understand it.

The vote of the people was just one step, however. The Legislature, which put Amendment 4 on the ballot, must pass a bill in the next session in 2017 carrying out the will of the voters.

At the same time, a much more potent political battle over solar will play out on the Nov. 8 general election ballot.

Known as Amendment 1, the ballot question is an effort by utility companies that would prohibit the sale of solar energy to individual customers and, critics say, would add new regulatory barriers to solar expansion in Florida.

Supporters, calling themselves Consumers for Smart Solar, have raised $19.1 million so far.

Florida Power & Light, Gulf Power, TECO Energy and Duke Energy are among Amendment 1’s biggest backers and environmental groups are working to defeat it.

Utilities prevailed on state lawmakers to put Amendment 4 on the primary ballot to avoid confusing voters about their higher priority, Amendment 1.

Susan Glickman of Southern Alliance for Clean Energy said moving Amendment 4 to a low-turnout primary was a blessing in disguise, as it turned out.

“It’s a little bit easier because it’s a more informed electorate,” Glickman said.

Copyright © 2016 Miami Herald, Steve Bousquet. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC. Miami Herald writer Alex Daugherty contributed to this report.

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Neighborhood Advocates Initiative Pinellas Realtor Organization

Here’s an issue for homeowners in Florida to watch.

Education is absolutely critical to our economic growth, and obviously economic growth impacts the value of your home. But, our responsibility goes beyond our property values to our core values. By investing in our schools we are investing in our children and their development.

In 2004 Pinellas County citizens voted to increase their property taxes by a half mill to fund in-classroom spending for public schools. The goal was to make an investment in our children, and therefore a long-term investment in our community. In 2008 and 2012, our community continued this commitment by reauthorizing the half mill for education. Pinellas County voters will have the option to re-authorize once again this fall.

Here’s what the funding goes to:

  • Teacher pay: Each teacher receives an additional stipend that makes their annual pay more competitive with surrounding school districts. Pinellas County Schools is able to attract and recruit a higher caliber of teacher because of this incentive.
  • Well-rounded Curriculum: With tight budgets and restrictions from Tallahassee and D.C., the arts, music, summer programs, state of the art technology, etc. have been cut from most school district budgets. In Pinellas County, we have these programs and classes to offer students because of the half mill increase, giving our children a more well-rounded education.
  • In-classroom spending: Every penny of the millage rate goes to in-classroom spending, avoiding the sometimes expensive administrative bureaucracy of government. Furthermore, there is an independent citizen oversight committee to make sure they funds are being spent as intended, and wisely.

Because this issue has the potential to affect you and our local economy, I thought that you might want to know about it. I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic.

If you have any thoughts or questions, please don’t hesitate to email me at AnnalisaWeller1@gmail.com . Thank you so much. Take care.

© 2016 Pinellas Realtor Organization

 

By: 

house tax form 300x195 Get to Know the Capital Gains Tax Exemption

Bill and Mary. A married couple, they sold their primary residence last year and made a profit. The profit they made on their home sale is subject to a federal capital gains tax—enter the capital gains tax exemption.

The profits Bill and Mary earned on the sale of their home are not taxed because they qualified for a capital gains tax exemption.

Simply put, the capital gains tax is the tax you pay on the profit from selling your home.

Here are some other facts about capital gains taxes:
◾With the home-sale exemption you can exclude up to $500,000 of any profits from your capital gains taxes as a married couple and up to $250,000 as an individual.
◾You can add capital improvements (money spent on improving the value of your home) to the cost basis of your home. This, in turn, lowers the total profit you pay taxes on.
◾In order to take the home-sale exemption from your capital gains taxes, the property you’re selling must be your principal residence.
◾There is no limit to the number of times you take the home-sale exemption from your capital gains taxes.

These are only a few things to know about the capital gains tax exemption and selling your home.

Be sure to get all the details about how capital gains affects you. Go to http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p523.pdf

Late last night the U.S. House of Representatives voted 257-167 to pass the U.S. Senate’s plan to avert the ‘fiscal cliff.’ President Obama has said he will sign the bill into law. Congress agreed that current tax rates will stay the same for households that make less than $450,000 annually, and $400,000 annually for individual filers. This coupled with the fact that there will be no change to capital gains taxes, the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) believes there will be no change financially for the vast majority of home buyers and sellers.

Here are few key issues that affect REALTORS®, home buyers and sellers.

  1. Congress excluded a capital gains tax increase for sale of a principle residence of up to $500,000 ($250,000 for individuals). The tax rate on capital gains would also remain the same, at 15 percent, for most households, but for those earning above the $400,000-$450,000 threshold, the rate would rise to 20 percent.
  2.  The Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007 was extended. This provides relief to troubled borrowers when some portion of mortgage debt is forgiven. This averts the crisis many short sales were facing with the New Year. The mortgage cancellation relief extension is for one year.
  3. Congress extended deductions for mortgage insurance premiums, state property taxes, and local property taxes. The limitation is that he write-off is available only to borrowers who have an adjusted gross income below $110,000.
  4. The mortgage interest deduction was left untouched, continuing tax relief for homeowners.
  5. Tax credits for energy-efficiency home improvements. This provides tax credits of $200 to $500 for owners who install energy-efficient windows, insulation and other upgrades designed to cut energy consumption in 2012 and 2013.
  6. Tax credits for new energy-efficient new houses. This allows builders and contractors to claim a $2,000 tax credit on new homes constructed in 2012 and 2013 that meet federally specified energy-conservation standards. The bill also extends credits for U.S.-based manufacturers of energy-efficient refrigerators, clothes washers and dishwashers. As with other energy-related tax provisions, this had expired last year and will now be continued through 2013.

Not all aspects of the fiscal cliff have been dealt with, and come February Congress will be required to re-engage the issue to deal with the national debt ceiling and required federal budget cuts.

All in all, it’s not too bad.

Real Estate Tax Talk   By Stephen Fishman Inman News®

Over the  past several years, millions of homeowners have had billions of dollars in  mortgage debt forgiven, either through foreclosure, refinancing or short sales.  It’s important for real estate professionals and homeowners to understand that  mortgage debt forgiveness has significant tax consequences.

Here are 10  things the Internal Revenue Service says you should know about mortgage debt  forgiveness:

1.  Normally, when a lender forgives a debt — that is, relieves the borrower from  having to pay it back — the amount of the debt is taxable income to the  borrower. Thus, a homeowner who had $100,000 in mortgage debt forgiven through  a short sale would have to pay income tax on that $100,000, as an example.

Fortunately,  under the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007, you may be able to  exclude from your taxable income up to $2 million of debt forgiven on your  principal residence from 2007 through 2012. This means you don’t have to pay  income tax on the forgiven debt.

2. The  limit is $1 million for a married person filing a separate return.

3. You may  exclude from your taxable income debt reduced through mortgage restructuring,  as well as mortgage debt forgiven in a foreclosure.

4. To  qualify, the debt must have been used to buy, build or substantially improve  your principal residence and be secured by that residence.

5. The Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act applies to home improvement  mortgages you take out to substantially improve your principal residence — that  is, they also qualify for the exclusion.

6. Second  or third mortgages you used for purposes other than home improvement — for  example, to pay off credit card debt — do not qualify for the exclusion.

7. If you  qualify, claim the special exclusion by filling out Form 982: Reduction of  Tax Attributes Due to Discharge of Indebtedness ,  and attach it to your federal income tax return for the tax year in which the  debt was forgiven.

8. Debt  forgiven on second homes, rental property, business property, credit cards or  car loans does not qualify for the tax-relief provision. In some cases,  however, other tax-relief provisions — such as bankruptcy — may be  applicable. IRS Form 982 provides more details about these provisions.

9. If your  debt is reduced or eliminated, you normally will receive a year-end statement,  Form 1099-C: Cancellation of Debt, from your lender. By law, this form must  show the amount of debt forgiven and the fair market value of any property  foreclosed.

10. Examine  the Form 1099-C carefully. Notify the lender immediately if any of the  information shown is incorrect. You should pay particular attention to the  amount of debt forgiven in Box 2  as well as the value listed for your home in Box    7.

The IRS has  created a highly useful Interactive Tax Assistant on its website that you can use to  determine if your canceled debt is taxable. The tax assistant tool takes you  through a series of questions and provides you with responses to tax law  questions.

For more  information about the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007, see IRS  Publication 4681: Canceled Debts, Foreclosures, Repossessions and Abandonments.  You can get it from the IRS website at irs.gov.

Stephen Fishman is a tax expert, attorney and author who has published 18 books, including “Working for Yourself: Law & Taxes for Contractors,  Freelancers and Consultants,” “Deduct  It,” “Working as an Independent Contractor,” and  “Working with Independent Contractors.” He  welcomes your questions for this weekly column

By Tara-Nicholle Nelson

Technically speaking, April 15th is tax day. But for Americans who expect a refund – including many homeowners who want to cash in on real estate-related tax perks – filing sooner holds the promise of getting that check in hand, stat.
If you count yourself in that number, here’s a handy guide for 9 pieces of paper you should be sure to round up as you prepare to file, in order to reap every penny of the tax rewards you’ve earned by virtue of owning a home.
  1. Mortgage Interest Statement – IRS Form 1098. The meatiest real estate tax deduction on the books is the one that allows you to deduct 100 percent of the mortgage interest you paid in a year – including prepaid interest or points you might have paid at close of escrow, if you bought a home last year. By now, you should have received in the mail a Form 1098 from your mortgage lender that reports how much that interest totaled up to in 2011.  If you itemize your taxes and claim a mortgage interest deduction, you must include this form with your tax form when you file.

(If you haven’t received yours yet, most lenders that have online account management services also post the form digitally in your secure account on the web. Just login like you would to make your monthly payment, and look for a notice that says you can now download your 2011 Form 1098.)

  1. Property Tax Statements.  In addition to deducting your mortgage interest, if you own a home you are eligible to deduct the property taxes you pay to your local city, county and/or state.  You are not allowed to deduct some of the other miscellaneous expenses that some localities bundle up with the taxes they collect, like waste management and local assessments for things like street lighting, libraries and sidewalk construction.  To get this deduction right, the best practice is to have your property tax statements at hand and make sure you’re only deducting what’s allowed.

If you bought your home this year, it’s highly possible that you might not even have received a property tax statement yet – if that’s the case, look to #3, below.

  1. Uniform Settlement Statement (HUD-1).  If you bought or sold a home last year, right after closing you should have received a form called the HUD-1 Settlement Statement (hint: it’s usually on legal-sized paper and contains an accounting of credits and debits for you and your home’s buyer or seller). That form documents a number of line items which might help you out at tax time, including prepaid interest, the prorated property taxes you paid at closing, and closing costs like original fees and discount points. Some states offer tax credits for buying a foreclosure; check with your tax pro to find out if any such credits apply to you. If so, this statement might be your ticket to lower taxes.

And here’s another handy hint – if you can’t find your copy, you might have gotten it on a disk – and you can always email your real estate or escrow agent for a copy, as well.

  1. Moving Expense Receipts.  Moving expenses are tax deductible, if your move is closely related, both in time and in place, to the start of work at a new or changed job location and you meet the IRS’ time and distance tests. Long story short, your new home must be at least 50 miles farther from your new workplace than your old home was from your prior place of work, and you must work essentially full-time. So, if you bought or sold a home and moved in 2011, you’ll need to include receipts from expenses you incurred making the move (meals not included) in your tax prep paperwork.
  1. Cancellation of Debt Statement – IRS Form 1099. Homeowners who lost a home to foreclosure, or divested of one by negotiating a short sale or deed in lieu of foreclosure with their lender might receive some version of Form 1099 from their lenders, charging them with income in the amount of the mortgage debt that has been cancelled. You see, if you borrow money from someone, then they cancel the debt, that money you originally borrowed becomes income in the eyes of the IRS – and income is, as you know, taxable.
  1. Utility statements for home office.  For the average everyday homeowner who works at their employer’s place of business, utilities are not deductible (sorry!). But if there is a part of your home that is “regularly and exclusively” used for business, you might be able to claim that portion of your home as a home office, and deduct some portion of your home utilities and costs of painting and repairs, as a result.Talk with your tax provider about what expenses are allowable to be claimed under your home office deduction, and whether or not you should take it.
  1. Income and Expense statements from rental properties.  Some of you have elevated the art of home ownership to a business!  If you are a landlord, your tax situation is more complicated than that of the average bear; you’ll need to have complete income and expense statements when you put your tax returns together. It might actually behoove you to consult with a tax professional to make sure you are appropriately depreciating the property over time and not taking deductions that will expose you to the risk of audits, as well as to begin cultivating a long-term tax strategy for your real estate portfolio.
  1. Contractor receipts from energy efficient home improvements.  Under the Nonbusiness Energy Tax Credit, homeowners who have made improvements to their homes that fall within a list of energy efficient upgrades might be eligible to claim tax credits. If, during 2011, you installed energy efficient improvements such as insulation, new dual-paned windows and furnaces, you might be eligible for a tax credit of 10 percent of the cost of these upgrades, up to  $500 – only $200 of which may be used to offset the cost of windows.
  1. Mortgage Credit Certificate (MCC).  If you own a home you bought in the last few years using a Mortgage Credit Certificate issued by a local housing authority, that Certificate may entitle you to a pretty hefty tax credit, based on a percentage of the mortgage interest you paid – on top of your mortgage interest deduction. MCCs apply as long as you live in the home and have a mortgage on it, but they only apply to defray taxes you actually owe – you can’t use them to get a refund.  In any event, your mortgage credit certificate, if you have one, is a must-have document as you start putting your tax prep plan in play.

No matter what your tax situation is, if you own a home, it absolutely cannot hurt to get some professional help and advice to make sure you maximize your deductions, while minimizing your exposure to audit. And you should always consult with a tax attorney or certified public accountant regarding your tax liabilities and implications when you buy, sell, short sell or lose a home to foreclosure.

Annalisa Weller, Realtor®, Certified International Property Specialist

(727) 804-6566
AnnalisaWeller1@gmail.com

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