Tax season is still some weeks away, but with a large number of changes coming into effect this year, it’s smart to plan ahead. Various COVID-19 stimulus bills introduced a number of updates to different tax provisions, while higher-than-typical inflation has tweaked many thresholds. 2021 tax changes may affect individuals and organizations too.
The American Rescue Plan featured a large one-year expansion of the child tax credit, increasing the credit from $2,000 to $3,600 for children 5 years or younger, and to $3,000 for other kids.
However, the extra amount is reduced for single filers earning more than $75,000 and joint filers earning more than $150,000. The 2021 credit is fully refundable and there’s no $2,500 earned income requirement this year either.
The American Rescue Plan also temporarily expanded the child and dependent care tax credit, with helps defray the costs of child care for children under 13 or dependent adults. Last year, families could claim $3,000 in expenses and a maximum of $6,000 per year. For 2021, claimable expenses per dependent jump to $8,000 with a maximum of $16,000. Families can receive up to 50 percent of these expenses as a refundable credit. Credits phase out for individuals and families earning more than $125,000.
Inflation substantially boosted the annual Social Security wage base. In 2020, Social Security taxes, including the employer’s 6.2 percent contribution, had to be paid on all income below $137,700.
In 2021, this base jumps to $142,800.
Keep in mind that companies that suspended collecting and paying Social Security payroll taxes in 2020 must now collect deferred taxes by the end of the year. As a result, some employees may see more money withheld from their checks to cover Social Security obligations.
Cannage is an antique style of furniture that originated in southeast Asia. It consists of braiding rattan and is sometimes referred to as mesh or grid. Designers and trend spotters have seen a resurgence of interest in this cool and classic furniture style. Here are some reasons why cannage is an excellent choice for your home.
Modern cannage is made primarily of rattan from Indonesia and can give your home a vintage feel or contemporary vibe. Balance cannage with rich tapestries and heavy wooden pieces for an antique effect. You can also pair it with solid colors and clean lines for a crisp, modern feel.
Cannage is a lightweight material, making it an excellent furniture choice if you like to redecorate according to the seasons. Likewise, this furniture travels well if you expect to make frequent home moves.
Classic cannage is left unpainted to highlight the natural texture, hues, and craftsmanship. It complements many colors, especially bold shades of blue and green.
The cane braiding technique creates a solid and durable product. The natural materials make it resistant to weather and suitable for indoor and outdoor environments.
Visit your local furniture retailers to browse their selection of modern cannage pieces.
The importance of National Bullying Prevention Month
According to a recent federal study, within the past year, 20 percent of U.S. high school students reported being bullied on school properties, and 15 percent reported being cyberbullied.
October marks National Bullying Prevention Month, a campaign that aims to raise awareness about the impacts and dangers of bullying. This month-long event encourages everyone to work together to create a safe place for children to live, learn and grow. Here are three reasons why this campaign is so important.
1. It makes students feel safer. When students feel safe and secure, they can focus on their schoolwork. Moreover, teachers can spend more time teaching, and parents can worry less. Everyone wins when you put a stop to bullying.
2. It fosters a sense of teamwork. Bullying prevention involves students, teachers, parents, counselors, coaches, and school administrators. Everyone must work together to stop bullying. No one person or school can do it alone.
3. It makes back-to-school a more positive experience. When schools open in the fall, it’s a chance for kids to reconnect with old friends and establish new relationships. National Bullying Prevention month happens in October and can help set the tone for the school year and confront bullying in schools early on.
This October, get involved in your community’s events and say no to bullying.
Decorating tips: welcome fall into your home
Do you want your home to exude the warmth of the blazing fall leaves? Here are a few tips to welcome nature into your home this autumn.
Focus on textiles
Textured fabrics are a great way to add a touch of fall color to your decor on a budget. Heavy curtains and plush wool throws have a soothing effect. Moreover, table runners, napkins and cushion covers in varying shades of red, brown, orange and yellow instantly create an inviting atmosphere.
Incorporate natural elements
Pinecones, gourds, pumpkins, tree leaves and other natural elements are ideal for creating seasonal centerpieces and wreaths.
Maximize the light
As the days get shorter, create a cozy atmosphere by installing string lights. These twinkling bulbs can brighten up rooms that desperately lack sunlight and can be used to showcase your banister or mantel. Decorative metallic objects are also great for reflecting natural light and making your space feel more inviting.
Lastly, scatter scented candles around your home and let their soothing scent envelop you.
Why you need a combi-boiler in your home
If you need to replace your boiler, you should consider upgrading to a modern combi-boiler system. A combination boiler heats your home and gives you hot water on demand. Here are some of the benefits.
• Increased efficiency. More efficient than a conventional water heater that heats a full tank of water whether you need it or not, a combi-boiler can reduce your energy consumption by up to 40 percent.
• Save valuable space. You don’t need a lot of room for a combi-boiler because they’re compact. For example, you can install a combi-boiler in an apartment, condo, or space under the stairs.
• Save money. Modern combi-boilers are less complex than conventional boilers and have fewer pipes to install. Moreover, combi-boilers are less expensive to install and repair than traditional ones.
• Enjoy unlimited hot water. You’ll never run out of hot water because a combi-boiler doesn’t have a water tank. Therefore, you can enjoy leisurely showers and hot baths without worrying about having enough water in the tank.
• There’s less maintenance. A combi-boiler doesn’t have a water tank to flush and clean. Consequently, you don’t have to worry about scheduling maintenance every six months.
If you’re moving into a new house or making extensive renovations, it’s a perfect time to upgrade your home’s heating system. Talk to an expert at your local home renovation center.
How to clean glass shower doors
Glass shower doors are sleek and stylish. However, keeping them clean can be a challenge. Soap scum and mineral deposits can build up, making your shower doors look dull. Follow these steps to keep your glass shower doors clean and shiny.
Spray with a cleaner
There are plenty of chemical products you can use to remove mildew or hard water stains. Alternatively, you can make an effective, eco-friendly cleaning solution at home. Mix three parts of water and one part of distilled white vinegar in a spray bottle. Add lemon juice for sanitizing power.
Spray the glass shower doors with the mixture and let it sit for five minutes. Use a soft brush or sponge to wipe the surface. Rinse and repeat if necessary. For tough stains, add dish detergent to the spray mixture. Never use abrasive cleaners or scouring pads.
To tackle stubborn hard water or mildew stains, try these everyday products you may already have in your home:
• Dryer sheets. Moisten a dryer sheet and wipe away tough stains.
• Multi-purpose cleaning pads. Although typically used to remove marks on walls, they’re also effective at removing hard water stains.
• Lubricants. Spray lubricants made for loosening rusty parts and stopping squeaks are great for removing marks left by hard water.
Finally, stick to a regular cleaning schedule to prevent stains from building up. For instance, keep a squeegee in your shower and use it to wipe down your doors after every use.
Clever ways to add storage to your home
If you lack storage in your home, there are many unique ways to utilize your space more efficiently. Here are a few ideas to consider.
• Purchase bags and bins specifically designed to fit underneath your bed. If your bed isn’t high enough, you can get bed risers to give you more room.
• Install a cabinet, shelf, or rack if you have an empty wall or door space. You may be surprised at how much you can fit inside.
• Invest in under-cabinet racks that slide conveniently out of the way when not in use. This is a great way to use the space underneath your cabinets and shelves.
• If you’re looking for a new entryway bench or coffee table, consider buying one with hidden storage space inside for odds and ends.
• Did you know your ceiling is a great place to store things? For example, you can install overhead shelves in your kitchen to store various everyday goods.
Visit your local hardware store to find unique space-saving storage ideas.