The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 for Individuals

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (commonly referred to as the Recovery Act), which was signed into law on Feb. 17, 2009, makes a number of beneficial tax changes for individuals. However, most of them are temporary in nature.  Unless extended by future legislation, they apply for 2009 only or in some cases for 2009 and 2010. Here's a review of the more widely applicable provisions that could have an impact on you and your family.

Retaining Income Tax Records

Many have asked for guidance on how long you should retain your personal income tax records. These records may have to be produced if IRS (or a state or local taxing authority) was to audit your return or seek to assess or collect a tax. In addition, lenders, co-op boards, or other private parties may require that you produce copies of your tax returns as a condition to lending money, approving a purchase, or otherwise doing business with you.

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Tax Credit for First Time Homebuyers

On February 17, 2009, the president signed into law the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. As part of this act the First Time Homebuyer credit was modified from its original form under the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008.

Federal Tax Credits for Energy Efficiency

2009 federal tax credits for energy efficiency includes:

  • Tax Credits for Consumers
  • Efficient Cars
  • Tax Credits for Home Builders
  • Tax Deductions for Commercial Buildings
  • Tax Credit Legislation

Link to energystar.gov/taxcredits for a complete list of tax credits and frequently asked questions.

Pack Your Parachute

To get your estate planning documents prepared, you'll need a good estate planning attorney. Having a well thought out and properly documented estate plan is like having a parachute – it better work the first time or else. There is no estate planning version 2.0. Either version 1.0 works or it doesn't. It's simple…get it right the first time. OK, you can have lots of versions while you are alive; it's only the last version that matters.

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