News from the Reference Desk Category: Taxes

Get Help from the Small Business Administration

If you’re a small business owner or entrepreneur with a great idea, you may be looking for resources to help answer some of the many questions you most likely have. Well, the Mount Prospect Public library is here to help–with a little assistance from the Small Business Administration (SBA)! The SBA is the government agency tasked with providing information and programs dedicated to assisting small businesses, and one of the best is their yearly Small Business Resource Guide. Inside you’ll find info on everything from how to start a business and writing a business plan to programs designed to help veterans and native Americans, as well as funding sources. Just click above or HERE to get started, or grab a paper copy from the Business Resource Center behind the Research desk. And if you need help navigating this or other business resources available at the library, MPPL Business Reference Joe Collier is available for one-on-one reference appointments–just email or call the library to set one up!

Get Smart About Money in 2018!

Well, the holidays are over and it’s the start of another year–and another opportunity to reevaluate your financial life and practices, woo-hoo! The good news is that it just got a lot easier, thanks to all the wonderful resources and tools available at Smart About Money (SAM). Smart About Money is one of the many programs of the National Endowment for Financial Education®. NEFE® is an independent, nonprofit foundation committed to educating Americans on a broad range of financial topics and empowering them to make positive and sound decisions to reach their financial goals. They offer tips, strategies and information on diverse topics like crisis and fraud, saving and investing, spending and borrowing, housing and transportation, taxes and more.

Click through and take a look at some of the tools like the Life Values Quiz, designed to help you better understand how and why you make financial decisions. Knowing your own habits and patterns is the first step to making positive changes in your financial life!

When Will Tax Cuts Start?

President Trump is poised to sign the recently passed tax bill, and the first question on many folks’ lips is: when will the tax cuts start? Because the legislation is complex, it’s hard to know exactly when it will effect taxpayers across the U.S. Some of the bill’s impact will begin at the start of 2018, though other elements won’t take effect until 2019 and beyond. For instance, when you file your 2017 taxes in April, you’ll already be getting some benefits like lower tax withholding, but other perks won’t show until you file your tax return in April 2019. Luckily for us, the experts at Fortune magazine have broken it all down quite nicely HERE.

Seven Kinds of Easily Accessible Legal Forms

Everyone needs legal assistance at one time or another. Rest assured MPPL has Gale LegalForms resource at the ready.

State-Specific
Gale LegalForms is relevant to Illinois laws. There are categories like divorce, bankruptcy, power of attorney, and incorporation (among others). You simply choose a category and then choose from a list of available forms. Each form gives a full description to help anyone choose what they need. With one click, the form opens with spaces to click and fill in your own information like your name, city, and even case number. Forms are available in a variety of formats, including Microsoft Word, Rich Text, PDF, and sometimes even Word Perfect. The forms included in the database are official forms that law firms use, so you never have to wonder if they will be accepted by the court system.

Highly Searchable
Forms can be keyword searched by category or title too. This makes finding a form by keyword very easy. For example, if you need information about “quit claim deeds” and you didn’t know that was a real estate term, you could just search “quit claim.” The search results include every available form related to those keywords.

Sample Letters
One of the categories provided is “Sample Letters.” There are letters to use for requesting a credit report of a minor, to remove your name from a mail marketing list, employment letters for suspensions, warnings, and disciplinary action, and a sample letter to request an extension on a lease from tenant to landlord. These are just a few of the handy sample letters available.

Tax Forms
There are also links to tax forms available in Gale LegalForms. When you choose a state, the database links you to that state’s treasury department web site. It is a quick, easy way to find the list of available tax forms for your state without having to navigate the whole of the state web site.

Attorney Directory
An Attorney Directory is also built into LegalForms. You can find an attorney practicing in a particular field of law very quickly by browsing the practice area categories. There is a description of the firm under most entries that includes information like when the firm was established, what the firm specializes in, who to ask for, or how many attorneys are practicing there. Once you find a promising entry, you can click on “Start” next to the name and fill out a client intake form that goes directly to the attorney’s office.

Additional Resources
There are external links from LegalForms too.  Here you can find links to places to get vital records, the IRS, or the court system. Again, having these direct links help you find specific agencies of the law quickly and easily. You may not always know what different agencies are called, or what they do, so having direct links brings you  one step closer to the right information.

Easy to Use Interface
The left side menu remains consistent throughout your use of LegalForms. It includes the search box, but also a link to “Definitions.” Within definitions is another search box to search for a specific legal term, or choose from A to Z to browse a list of terms under each letter of the alphabet.

Similar in style to the definitions is a “Law Digest” in that left side menu. This is more of a legal encyclopedia, as it goes into more detail about legal terms than just a definition. For example, the entry on “Environmental Protection Agency” includes articles about the agency’s various activities and even a bibliography with links for further reading.

The third item in the left side menu is a “Legal Q & A” button. Here you can choose a category of the law (like “automobiles – insurance” or “civil actions – liens”) and read questions and answers on that subject.

As you can see, LegalForms contains a wealth of information on virtually any legal topic. You can easily find the right form and open, edit, and save it immediately for personal use. Legal situations can be emotional and overwhelming, so having trustworthy and convenient links to legal information puts everyone at ease. With remote access to LegalForms, you can be assured that your privacy is respected.

Free File Alliance Public Briefing With Congressman Peter Roskam

The federal Free File Alliance, a public-private partnership that provides free online federal income tax preparation and e-filing services to taxpayers who earned $60,000 or less in 2014 is hosting a public briefing.

When: Wednesday, March 11, 2015
10:00 a.m. – public briefing
10:30 a.m. – Free File demo
(Registration begins at 9:30 a.m., refreshments will be served)

Where: Harper College
Wojcik Center, Room W214, 2nd Floor Boardroom
1200 West Algonquin Road
Palatine, IL 60067

To RSVP, please email Lori Baux at Mlbaux@aol.com
or call 515-233-3816

Following the briefing, take advantage of a hands-on demonstration to see how easy it is to use Free File, learn about other free tax services in the community, and gain access to outreach materials to inform eligible taxpayers.