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Thursday, February 7, 2013

A San Franciscan ode to Baltimore

      I saw something on the Time Ideas webpage that I thought was worth sharing.

  "Joel Stein, a San Francisco columnist, got San Francisco novelist Armistead Maupin (Tales of the City) and Baltimore mystery writer Laura Lippman (the Tess Monaghan series) to agree to write something complimentary about the winning city if their city lost.  Maupin decided that since the Ravens are named after a poem, he would deliver his ode to Baltimore in verse."

The Virtues of Baltimore (After Pondering Weak and Weary)
By Armistead Maupin
Who makes Baltimore so fine?
The Duchess of Windsor or Divine?
Poe and his Raven or Mama Cass?
The great John Waters or Ira Glass?
Thurgood Marshall or Adrienne Rich
Barry Levinson or – sonofabitch—
That linebacker who took a stand
For marriage equality in Maryland?
I lift my glass with a way-to-go
To Brendon Ayanbadejo.

   A couple of Howard County organizations are providing tax preparations for county residents. making CHANGE is hosting Howard County’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) site  throughout the 2013 tax season. From their website:

"Like other VITA sites across the country, the Howard County site will offer free tax assistance preparation to most taxpayers who earned less than $49,000 in 2012.  In addition to free tax return preparation, the site will offer free electronic filing, savings bonds and the option to receive refunds via direct deposit onto a debit card. Individuals taking advantage of the e-file program receive their refunds in half the time compared to returns filed on paper — even faster, when tax refunds are deposited directly into a bank account.

     North Laurel-Savage Multiservice Center
     9900 Washington Boulevard (Rt 1)
     Laurel, MD 20723
     January 19 to April 13, 2013

     Mondays and Wednesdays from 4 to 8 pm
     Saturdays from 10am to 3 pm

Photo IDs for taxpayers
Social Security cards for taxpayers and all depdendants
Bank account and routing number for direct deposit of refund (found on cheques)
Last year’s Federal and State tax returns (highly recommended)
All W2s, 1099s (employment, interest, dividends, pensions, IRA disbursements, stock sales, etc.)
Social Security or Railroad Retirement statements
Alimony received or paid for the year
If Married Filing Separately, spouse’s SSN ( you must also know whether your spouse is itemizing deductions)
Concise list of expenses if you wish to itemize, with receipts / statements
Property tax records
Estimated tax payments (Federal and State)
If you were a 1st-time home buyer in 2010, you will need to know the purchase price and date of purchase.
Please note: Our tax counselors are volunteers who are trained only to do simple returns for those with low to moderate incomes.  We will not be able to prepare returns involving businesses with employees, complicated K-1s, rentals, or an extensive list of stock sales.
Appointments are encouraged!  Please call (410) 880-5917 to make, change or cancel an appointment; or to learn more about VITA, email us here.
Or  CLICK HERE to prepare your taxes for free online. (Limited to incomes less than $57,000) "

The second organization is the Department of Citizen Services.  From their website:

"The Howard County Department of Citizen Services has announced that AARP and the IRS will offer free personal income tax preparation for Howard County residents at senior centers throughout the county, beginning February 1, 2013. Tax Aide services, including electronic filing, will be provided at no charge to middle- and low income Howard County taxpayers, with special emphasis on those age 60 and older. Now in its 35th year in Howard County, Tax Aide is staffed by volunteer preparers who receive IRS-approved training and certification in tax preparation.

Taxpayers should bring their 2011 Federal and Maryland State tax returns and 2012 tax records with them to their appointment. Self employment returns with more than $5,000 in expenses and very complex returns are not eligible for this service. Appointments must be scheduled in advance by calling one of the participating senior centers, listed below; evening and weekend appointments are available at some sites. For more information or appointments, call the Bain Center (410-313-7387); Ellicott City Senior Center (410-313-1400); Glenwood 50+ Center (410-313-5440); East Columbia 50+ Center (410-313-7680); North Laurel 50+ Center, (410-313-0380); or Elkridge Senior Center (410-313-5192)."

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