eFile System – Best Way To File Your State Taxes

Are you confused upon filing your state taxes- Do you need help on this- Follow some of the basic steps to understand the way to file your state tax.

Nowadays, you can file your state tax using e-file system where all types of state or federal taxes can be filed online or electronically. This is a combined effort by state and IRS tax administration agencies to serve masses. You may take services of a professional to file your taxes online or do it yourself directly from the comfort of your home.

Following states can effectively participate in e-file system of filing state or federal taxes:

– Alabama
– Arkansas
– Arizona
– Connecticut
– Colorado
– District of Columbia
– Delaware
– Hawaii
– Georgia
– Illinois
– Idaho
– Iowa
– Indiana
– Wisconsin
– Kentucky
– Kansas
– Maryland
– Louisiana
– Mississippi
– Michigan
– Montana
– Missouri
– New Jersey
– Nebraska
– New York
– New Mexico
– North Dakota
– North Carolina
– Oklahoma
– Ohio
– Pennsylvania
– Oregon
– South Carolina
– Rhode Island
– Vermont
– Utah
– West Virginia
– Virginia

The facility of e-file is also provided to taxpayers having a gross income of less than or equal to $52,000.

The best part of e-file is that you can file your state as well as federal taxes returns on this electronic filing at once. E-file uses a software program that places the data to be transmitted in two separate packets for State returns and Federal returns but uses a single envelope while transmitting it to IRS. IRS receives this envelope and forwards the rest to the concerned department for processing an electronic return.

Benefits of using electronic filing system for state taxes are:

– Faster processing
– Proof of filing can be retained easily
– Faster receipt of refund
– Convenience
– More accurate

There are exactly two options for people who want to file their state taxes directly. Either you can hire some tax professional who can assist you in completing tax return forms or you may take help of a software or manually fill up your forms.

Only problem with filing your details in these forms by yourself is that you may not have adequate knowledge of the credits and possible deductions as per your state law using which you can get benefited. Different states have distinct laws or tax rates. Only a tax professional can tell you about these tax rates and legal issues. You may take services of these tax professionals who can help you find those specific deductions or credits. They have knowledge about the specific laws that govern your state. You can maximize your tax returns by paying a small fee of around $100 to $150 to these professionals.

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Characteristics of a Victorious Real Estate Investor

To become a successful real estate investor one must have the capability to identify good real estate deals and invest in them. You should also be able to assess the true value of properties based on when you expect to sell. Your purchase must be made at a reasonably low price to allow for a profitable sale at a later date.

Real estate investing is a strange type of profession that has no accepted curriculum of formal training. The only way to learn the art of successful art of investing in real estate answer is for you to find a mentor who can teach you the secret formula. You must become an adept at appraising and finding out the true value of a property as this information is critical to make an informed investment decisions. Realtors, appraisers, and banks determine what a property is worth by studying recent comparable sales in the same neighborhood. You must be able to do the same.

Leveraging is key factor for investors in real estate because the less cash you part with on each transaction, the more properties you can buy with your total available money. If you are long-term investor, leveraging will work in your favor if the markets in which you invest appreciate in the long run and your income from the properties can pay for most of your monthly debt.

Exit strategies are also equally crucial to successful investing. As a real estate investor you must know exactly when to sell the property even as you buy. You must completely study the market and your work out your plan even before you invest. Real estate investors can help you interpret market indicators such as the average length of time houses have been on the market. This information it will help you make better investment decisions.

Successful investors make it a point to review their portfolios at least once a quarter and work aggressively to get rid of the losing properties before they can seriously erode the profits from their winners. Bestow enough attention to protect your properties from creditors, plaintiffs, and the taxman. It is no doubt complicated, and time consuming – but yet every successful investor takes the time to do it, thus assuring that their hard-earned money is not imperiled.

To succeed in real estate investing, you must cultivate the art of moving with people as the business is built around people – sellers, tenants, contractors, agents, financiers etc. Since there is no written code of ethics for investors, it is up to each investor to decide how he will deal with customers, tenants, sellers, workers etc.

Do your market research thoroughly and look at houses that are priced lower than comparable properties in the neighborhood. Purchase the property with the lowest possible cash down-payment and get the seller to carry back a second mortgage or deed of trust for the property. If you can get a low enough price and generous terms you can make almost any property into a successful investment.

Finally, one last important rule for investing in real estate is – do not become sentimental about a property that you are purchasing for investment. Always look at the property from the viewpoint of a critical purchaser and a businesslike investor.

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Market Meltdown

It’s mid June 2009 and I’m going to be arguing the case for the extreme Bear.

First let’s quickly review the market. From the high in October 2007 to the Low in March 2009 the SP500 fell nearly 58%.

To date (that’s early June 2009) the SP500 has retraced almost one third of that loss.

The SP500 has already recently tested the early January high which was the high for the year. Since that point public sentiment has become measurably more bullish. Actually to a level more typically seen at a market top and certainly the sort of level of bullish enthusiasm you would expect to see at the top of a bear market rally.

You’ve probably heard the phrase that “bull markets climb a wall of worry” – well there doesn’t appear to be much of a wall of worry left any more. At least as far as the retail investor is concerned.

And so, if this is a bear market rally, and I believe it is, then sentiment is fast reaching unsustainable levels.

But why am I so bearish? Why do I think this isn’t already a new bull market and we’re just due a normal kind of bull market correction? Why the meltdown scenario?

That’s a good question – and I want to answer that by showing you a chart. It may be the kind of chart you’re not familiar with so initially let me offer an explanation here.

This is an example of what I call a price-time chart. This chart shows a normal bar chart in the foreground which happens to be a 1 minute chart of the SP500-emini futures, and on the left the price-time distribution profile which shows how much time is spent at each price.

And you can see on this chart that most time was spent just above 930 – that’s the red horizontal line here. It’s a very important level because it shows you which price attracted the most time. And as you can see above, time is an important component in this formula that I’ll come back to in a second.

You can use these charts over any time period using any timeframe.

Here’s a chart covering a week’s activity using 5 minute bars and here you can see that most time was spent just above the level 940 over the period of that week. If you want to find out more about these charts then you should start by googling “Market profile” and start with the work of Peter Steidlmayer.

Here’s the point I want to make (here’s a chart based on hourly bars which covers a long period of time on the SP500 cash index, all the way back to 2003) – one of the useful things with this kind of chart is that we can let the chart tell use where value is according to the formula:

Price + Time = Value

That makes sense if you think it through.

Value is simply where the chart spends most time and with this type of chart you can see very clearly where value is and where value was at different times.

For example in 2005 the value line was just below the 1200 level. In 2006 it was about 1270 – you can see that very clearly.

The point is I have been following these charts, looking at these charts for many, many years and it is my contention, my discovery, that these value lines actually relate to each other.

There’s a relationship between the levels where these value lines emerge on the chart.

I’m not going to say any more about that in this video but currently where the SP500 is finding value, as far as I’m concerned at least, is very, very bearish.

It is not suggesting that the bear market finished at the March low. It is in fact suggesting that the March low is not low enough. Actually a move below 500 is what this chart is suggesting and that’s obviously a very bearish picture indeed.

So again, why the meltdown scenario? If the market is eventually going to go below 500 why shouldn’t it take all the time it wants to get there? Why not a low below 500 in say three years time?

The next chart shows what I believe is W.D. Gann’s Master Time Factor and again you should Google “W.D. Gann” for more information. I believe that Gann’s Master Time Factor is the 60 year cycle. And that’s what we’re looking at here.

The blue line shows the Dow from 1947 through 1949 and the brown line shows the Dow from 2007 to present. They are not identical I’ll grant you but to me they are very similar and I’ll tell you why. Look in the middle here at the “8” year.

Now a year ending in “8”, as any Gann analyst will tell you, is typically a strong year. Gann said this himself in the early part of the last century. If you look at charts of 1958, 1968, 78, 88, 98 you’ll see that typically they are strong years – but not 1948, it was unusually flat; and certainly not 2008 and that’s because I believe the sixty year cycle happens to be active.

I look at this chart and to me it strongly suggests a final low is yet to come and pretty quickly. By the way, in 1949, the low here was the ultimate low. The dow never went any lower than that.

So that’s my second piece of evidence, I have a lot of faith in this cycle and currently it’s making me very nervous for the market.

I mentioned earlier that the “Wall of Worry” had all but disappeared and I want to talk a little more about that and market sentiment.

A bull market requires pessimism, that’s kind of a contrarian statement – it requires a good stock of bears who are still available to turn bullish and provide more fuel (buying power) for a further rally. And it’s my contention that right now, mid June, that the fuel is running out.

So is this rally running out of steam? I would think so, yes. There’s a lot of bullish media at the moment; a lot of bullish sentiment; lots of investors coming back into the market right now, scared of missing the next big move which they have been told is up.

And in a bear market rally when you can measure extreme bullishness from the private investor you are probably looking at a top.

So let’s present some evidence of this “extreme bullishness”.

Here’s one of my sentiment charts. This indicator at the bottom here, compares total nasdaq volume to total nyse volume. We call it the Nasdaq/Nyse volume ratio. In fact this shows a 10 day moving average of that ratio, that’s the black line. So it’s a 10 day moving average of Nasdaq total volume divided by Nyse total volume and shown as a percentage. Speculative activity is more typical of the Nasdaq market than the Nyse and so this indicator tries to measures the amount of speculation currently in the market.

And you can see that the red colour on the index chart shows where the indicator (below) is above 150. You can see that when the indicator is above 150, the bars on the S&P index chart turn red.

And you can see clearly that it usually precedes a sell-off, and to my mind especially in a bear market. So if this is still a bear market of some larger degree, and this is a bear market rally, than this indicator being above 170 here is a big warning.

Here’s another sentiment indicator. This is the ISE Sentiment Index from the International Securities Exchange. This is an options ratio and I use their Equity-only options ratio. It’s a measure of Call volume compared to Put volume and the ISE exclude market maker and firm trades, so as they say on the website, it “allows for a more accurate measure of true investor sentiment than traditional put/call ratios”.

And I run a 10day moving average through the data, that’s the black line here, to smooth it out and as you can see, since the March low in the index, this indicator has been moving higher. Basically that’s bullish investor sentiment increasing fast as the market rallies. And, as you can see, by this measurement the public are more bullish than they were in January before the market sold off and more bullish than they were back in May 2008, once again before the market sold off.

You’ve probably heard of the VIX indicator, here it is. Often called the fear gauge, the SP500 volatility index is back in the mid twenties again having been in the high eighties last October. So not much fear at the moment relative to readings back over the last nine months.

A point to make here is that these indicators generally are considered contrarian indicators. We look for extremes in public bullishness or bearishness, the point being that at extremes in these readings it is usually a good time to fade, or go against, that sentiment.

The last indicator I’m going to show you, illustrating public sentiment, is my version of the Rydex Equity Funds Assets Ratio. This compares the assets of Rydex mutual fund investors. I take the total assets of a select number of bullish funds from Rydex and divide those assets by the total assets of a select number of bearish funds. That ratio is shown at the top there. This is a great sentiment indicator because it shows what investors are actually doing rather than what they are saying. And what they are doing at the moment is switching out of bearish funds and into bullish funds. You can see that because the ratio has recently climbed very rapidly to a level not seen since the market top in 2007.

So there’s recently been a big increase in public enthusiasm for the stock market.

But what about the smart-money: the commercial traders, the market movers, how bullish are they? Can we measure that sentiment?

This is my Smart-Money indicator number 1. This is based on Commitments of Traders data. Commitments of Traders data for the SP500 futures.

Just a quick explanation if you’re not familiar with this data. Every Friday the CFTC reports futures positions (in various markets) held by different groups. Here’s an old example of the report showing SP500 data. Believe it or not there’s a breakdown provided each week of the number of long contracts held and the number of short contracts held by each of these groups: Commercials, Non-Commercials and Non-Reportables (which is the small traders).

One of these groups is called Commercial. The Commercials are large concerns that use the futures markets to offset their risk. By analysising the Commercials net position (that’s their long contracts minus their short contracts) we can track their level of hedging and gain an insight into their current opinion of the underlying market.

The Commercials group is often called the “smart-money”. It is usually wise to follow this group especially when they become unusually long or short.

So back to the chart; the blue line represents the Commercial (smart-money) net position expressed as a percentage of total open interest.

So what is it telling us? It is telling us that the smart-money is bearish. And you can see that as the market rallied off the March low there’s actually been an increase in the net short position of the smart-money. They are at least as bearish as they were at the March low and they have not expressed an interest to participate in this rally. Far from it. This is telling us that, unlike the public, the Smart-Money is bearish.

Smart-Money indicator numbr 2 is another options ratio but this one is based on S&P 100 Index Options. There’s a very strong feeling that these options are mainly traded by the smart-money. So, unlike the ISE options ratio I showed earlier, this ratio is not a contrarian indicator but a confirming indicator. Once again I’m showing a 10day moving average of Calls; this time as a percentage of total options volume.

So what’s happening? Well, unlike the ISE sentiment index, as the market has been rallying this indicator is heading lower. Once again that’s a bearish Smart-Money indication.

If I show you those two option ratios together, one representing public sentiment and the other representing smart-money sentiment, you can clearly see the difference between their behaviour.

Okay I’m going to conclude by summarising the case for the extreme bear like this:

1 My price distribution analysis suggests that the March low is not the ultimate low for this bear market.

2 The most reliable time cycle I know of indicates another leg down pretty soon.

3 The Smart Money is not bullish.

4 The Not-So-Smart-Money is very bullish.

To me, in total, that paints a very bad picture indeed.

And there’s a couple more things.

Firstly, a level. 870 is a very important level on the SP500 index. I believe that if this rally can hold above that level for the next few weeks then I am probably wrong in this analysis but I don’t think that’s going to happen. But, and I think this is most likely, if the SP500 falls below that level a very fast move down will probably follow.

And lastly this. If the index does find itself below that level, below 870, and heading lower, I’m going to be listening out for the majority of market commentators to be calling the decline “a correction”, or “the expected test”, or “a great buying opportunity”, they might even say “this is the right shoulder of an inverse head and shoulders pattern”. In other words, as the market falls, I am expecting that bullish sentiment will stay high. That kind of comment will fuel the decline further.

This is a transcript of the audio content of the video Market Meltdown 2009. Original content by Bob Debnam.

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The Pros and Cons of a Tenant Loan

A tenant is someone who doesn’t own their own home and instead rents somebody else’s property. Normally, tenants’ are known as those individuals who rent property from a private landlord, employer, the council, housing association, or even the Ministry of Defense. However, you are also ranked as a tenant if you live at home with your parents or share with a friend, providing you pay them rent (even if it’s smaller payments than the standard amounts). Tenant loans are a form of unsecured loan designed specifically for such individuals. Therefore, the primary difference between a tenant loan and other unsecured loans is that they are only available for tenants; homeowners cannot apply for this type of loan. Tenants and other non-homeowners have always been considered to be at a disadvantage in comparison to homeowners when it comes to borrowing money; the introduction of this form of loan prevents the isolation of tenants from the rest of society in regards to borrowing money.

Recent research highlights that the number of tenants worried about the cost of maintaining their household and lifestyle has significantly increased over the past year. The recession and the resultant increase in rates has left more and more Tenants worrying over meeting monthly Rental Payments, Council Tax, Utility Bills and other expenses such as a TV License. The public sector cuts have undoubtedly had a strong effect on the rental sector recently. For these reasons, there has been a small but significant rise in the number of individuals seeking out various unsecured loans, including tenant loans. Tenants use such advances as short term solutions to their financial problems until longer term solutions become affordable and available.

The Benefits of a Tenant Loan: Like all unsecured loans there is no collateral required to secure the loan and the money gained can be used for almost anything, from short term unexpected expenses such as healthcare costs or MOT payments, to longer term financial solutions such as debt consolidation. Debt Consolidation Tenant Loans are particularly popular for renters as they reduce the number of monthly repayments into one manageable repayment plan. Furthermore, Tenant Loans are becoming much more accessible and available through the increased presence of lenders operating online. Most lenders now operate through the internet and have simplified application forms for the ease of the consumer. For this reason, the process of obtaining a tenant loan is not only easy but much more efficient.

Some advisory tips when looking for a tenant loan: Most lenders now operate online which has made it much easier for loan scams to operate by illegitimate firms. Therefore, before you do any business with an online firm, do some research on the company to check if they are a registered firm. Moreover, read a few online reviews on the business, weigh up the complaints with the positive reviews. As always, it is strongly recommended to do your homework on your personal finances before you share any information with an outside party. Ensure that you are realistically aware of your personal financial strengths and weaknesses, for example, do you have credit cards, bank overdrafts, landlord or council rent arrears, personal loans etc? Prioritising your finances is vital. Also ensure that you know your exact reason for looking for a tenant loan, are you looking to consolidate outstanding debts, pay unexpected fees or are you only interested because they do not require you to secure any collateral? In addition, borrowers are advised to be extremely careful of the various punitive, or ‘small print’, measures included in the contract in case of missed payment, such as delinquency and default terms.

Like most unsecured Loans, the amount that a Tenant can borrower is usually fairly limited. They can vary in the range of £1000 to £2500 and have a standard repayment term of 1 to 10 years. Additionally, as this type of loan is not secured with any property, lenders neutralize the risk to them by placing extremely high interest rates on the loan. Depending on the lender, these interest rates are held between 7.7% and 18.3% APR. As with all unsecured loans there are tight restrictions to abide to when looking to obtain a tenant loan. You must be able to prove that you are earning a stable monthly income of a minimum of £1000, although there are options available for unemployed tenants. In addition, you must have resided at your current rented address for over 12 months. You must also be over the age of 18, a full UK Citizen and have a valid and active bank account. Lenders that specialise in offering unsecured loans to people living with parents will undoubtedly require additional information on your employment history, such as the length of time in your current job, any pay increases and they will also require detailed information on your monthly living expenses and how much your parents actually charge you in rental payments.

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