e-Vermont active in 24 rural communities

first_imgThe e-Vermont Community Broadband Project, led by VCRD, is now active in 24 Vermont rural communities. The towns are tapping into the expertise and resources of e-Vermont’s statewide partners as the local groups develop ways to take full advantage of the Internet for creating jobs and innovative schools, providing social services, and increasing community connection. These towns, selected from a larger pool of applicants, are among the first to explore how the Internet can be harnessed as a tool for addressing local challenges. ‘We’re working with rural communities to support the best use of high speed Internet tools in business, government, and education, and help eliminate the digital divide,’ says Project Director Helen Labun Jordan, ‘Rural regions can’t be left behind in digital skills. We may be receiving high speed Internet later than more urban areas, but e-Vermont is helping our towns make up for lost time.’e-Vermont is one of only twelve projects nationwide to have received first round funding from the federal Sustainable Broadband Adoption grants program and one of only two that takes a community-based approach. This program focuses on use of broadband after infrastructure has been developed, as both a complement to infrastructure funding and a way to build a better business case for broadband in previously underserved areas.The 2010 towns (see map) are already seeing great benefits, including:Sunderland – Arlington – Sandgate are adding technology to the celebration of their 250th Town Charter Anniversaries in 2011. High school community service students will create a website based on the historical holdings of Martha Canfield Library’s Russell Vermontiana Collection. Learn more.Gallup Brook Fencing, a small business in Cambridge, has the honor of being the first of many web sites to come that were launched with the help of e-Vermont and its partner the Vermont Small Business Development Corporation. Owners Troy and Jessica Steel worked with SBDC coordinator Pat Ripley on the design and content. To see the result, click here or read an online interview with the Troys.Five towns (Bristol, Ludlow, Poultney, Newport and West Rutland) are exploring the feasibility of creating public access Wi-Fi zones in their town centers in order to promote their communities and provide visitors with information about local events, services, entertainment and hospitality. These towns were originally inspired by Wireless Woodstock, a community-managed Wi-Fi zone that went live over the summer.last_img read more

New Cost Basis Tax Reporting: Short-Term Confusion, Long-Term Simplicity

first_img Post navigation Selling stocks or mutual funds has often created confusion for investors when tax time rolls around. The longer the investment has been held, the more difficult it can be to determine the true cost basis information.When an investor has years, possibly even decades, of incremental purchases and dividend reinvestments it can mean sifting through hundreds of statements.A new rule implemented by the IRS now requires brokerages to submit cost basis information to both the IRS and the taxpayer. While it is designed to minimized miscalculations and ensure the Federal Government gets what is owed to them, experts say it will also eventually make tax calculations simpler.For the next few years however, dealing with a combination of “covered” and “uncovered” sales may continue the confusion.Determining gains and losses“Cost basis” is simply the original purchase price of an asset, often used to determine profit or loss for reporting or tax purposes. Taxpayers are required to report cost basis for stocks or mutual funds because it determines the tax implications of that loss or gain.That’s critical because while cost basis on a profitable sale could note the tax one has to pay, cost basis on a losing sale could also help the taxpayer claim a tax-deductible loss.Bob Phillips, Managing Principal at Spectrum Management Group, says finding cost basis for stock and mutual fund sales can often be very complex. This is especially true when the taxpayer has bought shares in the stock or fund at multiple prices over a long period of time.“It can get very complex and most people don’t do a very good job of tracking those transactions. They don’t keep up with the documentation and it can be difficult to find,” says Phillips.Inherited stocks, or stocks that have been held or purchased over the course of decades, can be especially problematic to gather the documentation. Phillips says due to all the complexities, many taxpayers inaccurately calculate and report their cost basis, resulting in overpaying or underpaying their taxes.For example, an IRS National Research Program in 2005 found a whopping $11 billion in under-reported capital gain taxes.Phillips says many may overpay taxes on stock or mutual fund sales because they fail to add dividend reinvestments back into their cost basis. For stocks or funds not held in a retirement account, taxes must be paid that year on any dividends, even when they are reinvested.“When you factor in automatic dividend reinvestments you could have up to four transactions per year on each stock and it can be a lot for people to keep up with,” says Phillips.Documenting “covered” and “uncovered” salesSection 403 of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 made cost basis reporting mandatory for all brokerages starting in 2011 for stocks and for mutual funds and dividend reinvestment plans on January 2, 2012.Until last year, no brokerages were required to furnish any cost basis information to the IRS. The fact that they now have to provide it to the IRS and the taxpayer should eventually simplify tax reporting.Brooks Mosley, a CPA with Security Ballew Wealth Management, says taxpayers will now receive a 1099-B form with complete cost basis information on sales. The problem is, the rule currently only covers stocks and mutual funds acquired after the 2011 and 2012 dates.So, in the meantime, many sales will be left with shares that are both “covered” and “uncovered” by the rule. It could take years, if not decades, for all the uncovered portions of sales to be flushed out of the market.Phillips says it could create great confusion for taxpayers who may have to fill out multiple 8949 forms with varying covered and uncovered sales.Mosley says while calculating cost basis can be confusing enough, the mix of covered and uncovered sales is going to make it trickier. “I think it is going to confuse a lot of people. In the short term, I still think people are going to [mess up] and report wrong cost basis information,” he says.He recommends that taxpayers pay especially close attention over the next few years to determine the covered and uncovered portions of their stock and fund sales.Anyone who sold stocks or mutual funds in 2012 that they have been holding for years shouldn’t expect much of a difference, since most of the sale will be uncovered.“It will [temporarily] put a bigger burden on the taxpayer to deal with the covered and uncovered sales. I think in the short term, people are still going to report the wrong basis,” he says.Easier in the long-termWhile many experts agree the mix of covered and uncovered sales will create some confusion in the coming years, the rule should eventually make reporting easier in the long term.Once uncovered sales are flushed out of the market, investors will need to do little more than use the cost basis information provided on the 1099-B statements from their brokerage. Just how long that will take depends on the age of the investments the individual holds.“Over time you won’t have to worry about stuff getting lost or finding records. Years from now, you won’t have problems like you did when trying to find cost basis of your grandfather’s stock he bought in the 60s,” says Phillips.Phillips says it will increase compliance for the IRS since in time they will know the cost-basis for all stock and mutual fund sales. It will also make tax reporting simpler in the future because taxpayers will no longer have to sift through years of documents and statements.“I still suggest people hang onto their statements, not just to [track their performance] but to check 1099-B statements in the future since computers are not infallible,” says Phillips.Craig Guillot is a business and personal finance writer from New Orleans. He covers insurance, investing, real estate, retirement and debt. His work has appeared in such publications and web sites as Entrepreneur, CNNMoney.com, CNBC.com, Bankrate.com and Investor’s Business Daily. He is the author of “Stuff About Money: No BS Financial Advice for Regular People.“Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) Relatedlast_img read more