Spending Your Tax Refund

Tax Refund Tips

Happy Tax Day! Hopefully, you have sorted all of your 2012 tax matters. If you are expecting a refund – what will you do with it? We’ve put together a few tips to help you make the most of your income tax refund money.

How to Spend Your Tax Refund

  1. Make a Plan – It’s amazing how quickly an extra thousand or two can disapper if you have not created a plan for the money. If you have not considered where it would be best used – you are more likely to make impulse purchases with your inflated bank balance.
  2. Debt Reduction – Unless you have no debt, you could apply the majority of what you get back towards your debt – especially high interest debt common with revolving credit accounts. Paying down balances with higher interest rates will reduce the interest you pay over the life of the account.
  3. Adjusting Your Withholdings – If you received a large refund, you may be allowing the government to take too much of your money throughout the year. Maybe you just like getting a big check each year. However, paying more on on high interest debt through out the year may be the better option instead of overpaying the government. Consider all your options. A big refund basically means you’ve been giving the government an interest-free loan all year.
  4. Savings – If you have already paid off your high interest debt, consider an emergency savings fund, a vacation fund, or savings account dedicated to your home improvement dreams. A mortgage is generally not considered high interest debt. If you have a high interest rate on your home mortgage – refinance as soon as possible to take advantage of low fixed mortgage rates.
  5. Consider Homeownership – If you have not made the leap to homeownership, a tax refund may serve as a down payment, help you reduce your debt and improve your credit situation, or enable you to purchase necesssities for your new home. Get a free, no obligation, pre-approval from a licensed Inlanta Mortgage loan officer to determine how much you can afford.

Buy a Home

Ready to discuss homeownership and the home financing option best for your unique situation? Use our branch locator to find an Inlanta Mortgage loan officer near you. Can’t find a branch near you? Apply online here. We will connect you with an experienced loan officer who will guide you through the home buying process.

Inlanta Mortgage is proudly celebrating twenty years in business. Learn more about Inlanta’s twenty year history here.

Inlanta Mortgage offers Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac agency products, as well as a full suite of jumbo and portfolio programs. The company is fully delegated HUD-FHA including FHA 203K, VA, and USDA approved. Inlanta Mortgage also offers numerous state bond agency programs. Review Inlanta’s mortgage loan programs here.

Inlanta Mortgage is a multi-state mortgage banker based out of Brookfield, Wisconsin. NMLS# 1016. Inlanta Mortgage is proud to be a recent recipient of a 2012 Top Workplace Award.

This article is intended to provide general information and should not be considered legal, tax or financial advice. It’s always a good idea to consult a legal, tax or financial advisor for specific information on how certain laws apply to you and about your individual financial situation.

Tax Tips for Homeowners

Tax Tips for Homeowners

Are you a new homeowner this tax season? Don’t fret! Although tax preparations become a little bit more complicated as a homeowner – you can now deduct many home-related expenses.

While we are definitely not tax experts and highly recommend consulting a tax professional, here are a few things you may want to consider as tax time approaches.

To Itemize or Not to Itemize

This is typically one of the first questions you must consider as you attend to your taxes this year. How do you decide? Well, you have to determine which option will benefit you more – itemizing your deductible expenses or claiming the standard deduction.

The IRS has put together Six Facts about Choosing the Standard or Itemized Deductions to help you determine which method gives you the lowest tax. Click to view Schedule A (Form 1040) – Itemized Deductions and the 1040 Instructions.

A Few Deductible Homeowner Expenses

Mortgage interest is by far the biggest tax break available to homeowners. For most homeowners, the bulk of your monthly payment goes torwards interest. Mortgage interest is deductible, but there are limitations for high income earners. Consult a tax professional if you fall into this category.

Federal laws grant taxpayers a deduction of property taxes paid from their gross income when figuring taxable net income. Any state, local or foreign taxes on your property are deductible, as long as the same tax is levied on all other property in the community. Although subject to conditions and restrictions, the property tax deduction still affords helpful financial assistance to homeowners, many of whom are subject to property taxes as well as income and sales taxes in their state.

Other Helpful Tax Resources

We recommend you check out 9 Easy Mistakes Home Owners Make on Their Taxes. We are not trying to scare you or anything – but mistakes happen.

Looking to file your taxes for free? Many participating software companies make their tax preparation software available through the IRS. Visit the IRS for more information.

Not a homeowner yet? Ready to start reaping the rewards of homeownership? Contact a licensed Inlanta Mortgage loan officer near you to learn about the loan programs available in your area.

Inlanta Mortgage offers Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac agency products, as well as a full suite of jumbo and portfolio programs. The company is fully delegated HUD-FHA including FHA 203K, VA, and USDA approved. Inlanta Mortgage also offers numerous state bond agency programs. Review Inlanta’s mortgage loan programs here.

Inlanta Mortgage is a multi-state mortgage banker based out of Brookfield, Wisconsin. NMLS# 1016. Inlanta Mortgage is proud to be a recent recipient of a 2012 Top Workplace Award.

Inlanta Mortgage is proudly celebrating twenty years in business. Learn more about Inlanta’s twenty year history here.

Winter Car Kit

Be Prepared for Winter Driving

Have you prepped your car for winter traveling? We’re not referring to snow tires – we’re referring to the items you should carry in your car in case of an emergency.

With a few frigid months ahead of us (at least for a good portion of the country), it’s a good idea to make sure you are properly prepared for a possible break down or accident during freezing weather. Here are a few items we recommend you keep inside your vehicle – just in case.

Winter Emergency Car Kit

  • Blanket – Sometimes the unexpected happens. If you breakdown when it’s freezing outside,  you will appreciate this extra layer of warmth as you wait for help.
  • Extra Hats, Socks, and Mittens – Did you poke you head around your engine to see what the problem was? Or maybe you took a quick peek under the car. In either case,  you may have gotten wet and will appreciate dry mitts or socks when you finally decide to climb into your car and wait out the rescue party.
  • Water & Snacks – Ideally, you will only be stuck on the side of the road for a brief time. However, winter storms often delay tow trucks and other rescue personnel. Make sure you have some water and snacks in case the wait becomes excessive.
  • Flashlight with Extra Batteries – A flashlight is a must-have – especially if your break down happens at night!
  • Car Cell Phone Charger – There isn’t anything much worse than being stranded on the road, in a storm, with a dead cell phone.
  • First Aid Kit – Let’s assume you won’t ever have to use this…but you will feel better knowing you have one should the time come.

Car accidents and break-downs are inevitable during the winter. In addition to packing a winter car kit with all the items mentioned above – make sure your automobile is in good working order. Check all coolant and fluid levels and make sure the pressure is right on all of your tires.

Stay Safe This Winter

Now this probably goes without saying – but let’s just say it: Slow down, don’t tailgate, and brake slowly. Let’s all stay safe throughout this holiday season!

Inlanta Mortgage offers Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac agency products, as well as a full suite of jumbo and portfolio programs. The company is fully delegated HUD-FHA including FHA 203K, VA, and USDA approved. Inlanta Mortgage also offers numerous state bond agency programs. Review Inlanta’s mortgage loan programs here.

Inlanta Mortgage is a multi-state mortgage banker headquartered in Brookfield, Wisconsin. NMLS# 1016. Inlanta Mortgage is proud to be a recent recipient of a 2012 Top Workplace Award.

6 Black Friday Shopping Tips

Be Prepared for Black Friday

Black Friday is almost here. Are you prepared? Here are a few shopping tips to help you make the most of this crazy busy shopping day.

Black Friday Shopping Tips

     

  1. Do Your Research – If you plan to purchase a big ticket item, make sure you do your research. Just because the item you plan to buy is cheap, doesn’t guarantee it’s a good deal. Read consumer reviews and reports to make sure the discounted item is worth getting out of bed at 5 am.
  2. Browse Deals Before You Go – Sketch out a game plan for Black Friday. Know your budget, which stores have sales, and which stores have sales on items you actually want.
  3. Compare Prices Before You Head Out – Determine what the regular price of an item is before you commit to purchasing that item on sale. Make sure you are comparing like items! It is not uncommon for stores to offer “stripped down” versions of products at deep discounts and then charge regular prices for all the required accessories.
  4. Use Store Credit Cards – This is generally a good idea when a deeper discount or an extended warranty is offered when purchasing using store credit. If there are no additional discounts or warranties, it may make more sense to pay another way.
  5. Check Out Night Owl Specials –  More and more stores offer deals for night owls that aren’t likely to get up at the crack of dawn. Cashing in on these deals may help you beat the crowd and ensure you get the item you are coveting.
  6. Know the Store’s Policy – Does the store you plan to shop at charge re-stocking fees or have a shorter return window? This will become an issue if the item you purchased isn’t all you expected it to be. Always keep your receipt – without your receipt stores aren’t likely to take your return at all.

Spread a Little Cheer

 
Good luck with your holiday shopping! Consider picking up an extra toy this year for a child in need! Many local charities help distribute toys to children over the holidays. One of our Wisconsin branches is collecting toys for the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. For more information on the Brookfield branch toy drive, click here.

Inlanta Mortgage offers Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac agency products, as well as a full suite of jumbo and portfolio programs. The company is fully delegated HUD-FHA including FHA 203K, VA, and USDA approved. Inlanta Mortgage also offers numerous state bond programs. Review Inlanta’s mortgage loan programs here.

Inlanta Mortgage is a multi-state mortgage banker based out of Brookfield, Wisconsin. NMLS# 1016.