EFR may seek nonprofit status

May 12, 2015

Though it may not happen soon, Eastside Fire & Rescue is looking to become the first official nonprofit emergency service entity in Washington.

“Essentially, we’re a large umbrella group,” Deputy Chief Bud Backer said.

Read more

Bookmark and Share

Filers beware the latest tax season scams

February 17, 2015

NEW — 6 a.m. Feb. 17, 2015

As you prepare for another tax season, the Better Business Bureau serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington, along with several federal agencies, is reminding you to beware of scams and identity theft.

According to the Internal Revenue Service and BBB investigators, an aggressive and sophisticated phone scam continues to run rampant. Callers claim to be employees of the IRS, using fake names and bogus identification badge numbers.

Victims are told they owe money and must pay through a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer. If the victim refuses, the scammers threaten with arrest, deportation or suspension of a driver’s license.

Read more

Bookmark and Share

IRS reduces tax form availability to libraries

February 3, 2015

The Internal Revenue Service announced Jan. 9 that due to budget cuts, it would cut back on the Tax Forms Outlet Program.

This year, it will limit the forms it will send libraries to the 1040, 1040A and 1040EZ. It will also send only one Publication 17 per library and a supply of Publication 4604.

Read more

Bookmark and Share

Homebuyer credit deadline approaching

April 13, 2010

The deadline to apply for the First-Time Homebuyer Credit is quickly approaching.

The Internal Revenue Service reminds potential homebuyers to qualify for the credit, they must have a binding contract to purchase a home by April 30 and must close on that home by June 30.

The First-Time Homebuyer Credit provides up to $8,000 for taxpayers buying a new home, if it is their first home or if they have not owned a home in the three years before the date of purchase.

Legislation in 2009 expanded the credit to include longtime residents who purchase a new main home after Nov. 6, 2009. To qualify for this version of the credit, a maximum of $6,500, eligible taxpayers must show that they owned and lived in their old home for a five-consecutive-year period during the eight-year period ending on the purchase date of the new home. Read more

Bookmark and Share

Open a window to federal remodeling tax credits

April 13, 2010

As warm weather approaches and the tax credit for energy-efficient replacement windows is in full swing, now is the perfect time to consider upgrading your home with new windows to help save on cooling costs in hot summer months, and to also save on heating costs when winter rolls around again.

The tax credit for energy-efficient replacement windows and doors, originally introduced in 2009 as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, is set to expire at the end of 2010, which makes this year the best time for homeowners to replace their windows and upgrade the look and feel of their home.

Here are some tips and guidelines to help homeowners make the most of the energy-efficient replacement window tax credit:

How do I qualify for the tax credit?

The federal government established strict standards for windows to qualify for the tax credit. Replacement windows must have a glass package with a U-Factor rating — the rate at which heat is prevented from escaping — of 0.30 or lower. Qualifying windows must also possess a Solar Heat Gain Coefficient rating of 0.30 or lower. The lower the window’s Solar Heat Gain Coefficient, the less solar heat it transmits.

A common indicator of a window’s energy efficiency is the Energy Star label, which as of this year includes more stringent guidelines. Homeowners who purchase windows with the Energy Star label should still check with their contractor to ensure the windows they purchase meet the tax credit guidelines because the tax credit qualifications may vary from Energy Star guidelines in certain locations. Read more

Bookmark and Share

Judge sentences Issaquah couple in mortgage fraud case

December 22, 2009

NEW — 2:58 p.m. Dec. 22, 2009

Issaquah real estate agent David Sobol and his wife, Alla Sobol, were sentenced to two years in prison for involvement in the largest mortgage-fraud case in state history, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced last week.

Agents arrested the Sobols and five others in late March after a wide-ranging investigation into a $47 million mortgage fraud scheme.

The leader in the mortgage scheme, Bellevue resident Vladislav Baydovskiy, was sentenced last week in U.S. District Court in Seattle to five years in prison and three years of supervised release for conspiring to commit bank fraud, mail fraud, wire fraud and filing a false tax return.

“You went from one scheme to the next,” U.S. District Judge Marsha Pechman said during the sentencing hearing. “When you saw regulators closing in you opened the next.”

Read more

Bookmark and Share

Issaquah couple plead guilty to mortgage fraud

October 13, 2009

The last of seven people charged in a $47 million mortgage fraud scheme pleaded guilty Oct. 2. Federal authorities said the scheme included Issaquah real estate agent David Sobol, 40, and his wife, Alla Sobol, 28. Read more

Bookmark and Share

IRS and partners offer free ‘Super Saturday’ help tomorrow

March 20, 2009

NEW — 6 a.m. March 20, 2009

The Internal Revenue Service and many of its community partners will open their doors tomorrow to help people who need free tax preparation, a question answered or a payment schedule arranged.

Four IRS Taxpayer Assistance Centers in Bellevue will be open for “Super Saturday” to provide free tax help to area residents. IRS employees will be going the extra mile to prepare basic tax returns for those whose income is less than $42,000; to work with people having a hard time paying; and to provide tax forms and information about e-File, which can speed refunds. 

Read more

Bookmark and Share