Ask Taxmama Issue 437 – Mortgage Relief

Dear Family,

Yesterday, President Bush unveiled his plan to help

save the mortgage industry and homeowners facing foreclosure

Now remember, this is a plan that’s been proposed to Congress.
It’s not law yet.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson, in a WSJ commentary says this will
only help about 750,000 of the 6.5 million sub-prime borrowers.

And Barclays Capital says this will help only about

240,000 of the 2.9 million subprime adjustable rate mortgages
that the Mortgage Bankers Association says exist.

Isn’t the disparity in numbers fascinating?
Where does Jesse Jackson get his figures?

And doesn’t the Wall Street Journal verify numbers before
printing them – even in editorials? (My Dow Jones editor
verifies MY sources of information when I cite numbers.)

Regardless, there is some help out there. But for whom?

According to Liz Moyer in the Forbes article, “It also won’t
help the 16% of subprime borrowers who are already delinquent
or in default, and it won’t help millions of other homeowners
who either will be deemed able to pay the higher rates when
they adjust, starting in January, or who have the unhappy

circumstance of having a house worth less than their mortgage
or a loan that has already reset to the higher rates.”

Is that entirely true? Well, according to the information
on the White House’s website, the plan is designed to help

homeowners with otherwise good credit who are now delinquent
in their payments because they couldn’t afford the increases.

The other provision of the plan is to amend the Internal
Revenue Code to avoid taxing the phantom income that arises
from cancellation of debt, when these homes are foreclosed upon.

We’ll have to wait and see how this plays out.
If you’re in the affected group, I do urge you to
contact your Senators and Representatives to pass
legislation that can help you. You will find contact

information for all your legislators here:

IRS News this week explains what income is taxed
and what isn’t.

Our Job Advice of the Week urges you to distinquish yourself.

This week we had no TaxQuips. Lots of questions were
answered privately. But I took the week off to sleep in

and do work around Pop’s house. We threw a party for
his and Phyllis’ friends and heard stories about
how Pop and Phyllis brought so much happiness into
their lives. That’s better than taxes any day!

This week is Chanukah. You’ll see people lighting
menorahs, adding one candle on each of the 8 days.
The candles are lit to commemorate a victory against the
Seleucid Greek government – and the miraculous 8 days of

light generated by oil that was only enough for one day.

There are 9 candles total – the 9th being the Shamash
which is used to light the other candles – and to provide

light to read by and…

Tell us how you celebrate this holiday with your family.!

Clearly, this holiday, and Christmas have evolved into
a time of intensive gift-giving. (Kwanzaa is more about
making things and being together than simply tapping into
the commercial mindset.) So if you’re compelled
to give gifts, here are some great ideas:

ThinkGeek has some wonderful, unusual stuff, including
something very like a Dick Tracy watch – a touchscreen
cell phone PDA watch. They also have the USB Memory watch
that holds 2GB of data. Just click on Holiday Mega Deals.

Open your own Zazzle account and create personalized
gifts to your family and friends. You still have time
to get things delivered before Chanukah ends. Really.
You don’t need to use my designs – use your own photos and artwork.*

Join (no charge)and you’ll be able
to give Michael Angier’s ‘101 Best Year-End and New
Year Questions’ to everyone you know. It’s an excellent

way to open a dialog with those close to you – and to
ensure that 2008 will be a great year. And there’s no
charge for this gift at all.

Have an untaxing, joyful week!

Hugs from your favorite TaxNerd,

Eva Rosenberg, EA

Your TaxMama is watching…out for you.



12.31.2008 Last Day to Open KEOGH account for 2007 deposits

01.15.2008 4th Estimated Payment for 2007 Due


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Since it’s summer, and you’re probably going to be traveling with your family, consider getting matching T-shirts and/or hats.

(DO NOT PUT ANYONE’S NAME ON THEM – you’re just asking strangers to kidnap your children!)

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Cafe Press is the home of TaxMama’s shops

But you can upload your own art and graphics and unify your family – even your pets.

Get extra discounts for yourself and friends after you order.

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Wouldn’t you love to get your logo or family crest, or picture or whatever, EMBROIDERED on hats and T-Shirts?

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They do a gorgeous job.