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January 15, 2009     N. Warren Town and County News
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January 15, 2009
 

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Thursday, January 15, 2009 Check Off Child Abuse As tax season ap- proaches, residents of Warren County are urged to donate a portion of their 2008 tax refund to help prevent child abuse in our community. Every two years, the Iowa Legisla- ture determines the four beneficiaries that will be listed as income tax check- offs on state income tax forms. Child abuse pre- vention has been desig- nated as a beneficiary for the 2008 and 2009 tax years; the proceeds will specifically support local prevention efforts via the Iowa Child Abuse Preven- tion Program. In Warren County, child abuse prevention services are coordinated by the Child Abuse Pre- vention Council. Last year alone, 280 young children and 175 families were served in theCouncil's Wee Care Respite Nursery and 49 moms and dads were served in the Young Parents Program. The Child Abuse Prevention Council also provided sexual abuse prevention education for 235 young children and 302 adults last year. By checking off child abuse on 2008 state income tax forms, resi- dents can truly make a difference in the lives of these children by ensuring the continued support of child abuse prevention ef- forts in Warren County. "This is a wonderful new opportunity for War- ren County residents to further support local child abuse prevention efforts," said Colleen Reisener, Council Coordinator. "We are experiencing several financial challenges this year and community sup- port is more important than ever in sustaining lo- cal services for children and families." "Iowa's new checkoff will strengthen families and protect children all over this state," said Steve Scott, executive director of Prevent Child Abuse Iowa. "Checkoff revenue will support a statewide program with a long track record providing child abuse prevention ser- vices. Isn't it much better to prevent abuse from ever happening than only treating its after effects?" To access state income tax forms, or to learn more about how to check off child abuse, residents can visit the Iowa Department of Revenue's website at http:www.state.ia.us/tax/ index.html or the Check Off Child Abuse website at www.checkoffchildabu seiowa.org. BUSINESS Enjoy One-year "Holiday" from Required Minimum Distributions Although it sounds strange, you may encoun- ter situations in which you have to accept money even if you'd rather not. Such is the case with re- quired minimum distri- butions (RMDs) from your traditional IRA. 401(k) or other employer-spon- sored retirement plan. But thanks to recent legisla- tion. you can ignore the "required" part of RMDs- at least for a year. Specifically, lawmakers recently placed a one-year moratorium on taking (RMDs) for 2009. If you're not familiar with the rules governing RMDs, here's a little background: Gener- ally, the IRS requires you to begin taking RMDs in the year in which you turn 70-1/2, or no later than April 1 of the following year. For example, if you turn 70-1/2 in 2009, you would normally be re- quired to take your first RMD by April 1, 2010. You must also think about RMDs if you are a benefi- ciary of someone else's IRA, 401(k) or other retire- ment account, because when the account owner dies, regardless of age, you must generally begin tak- ing RMDs. And this is also true if you are the benefi- ciary of a Roth IRA, even though Roth IRA owners are never required to take RMDs. But thanks to the new legislation, you can skip the required 2009 distri- bution if you reach 70-1/2 in 2009 or if you're a ben- eficiary currently re- quired to take RMDs. You also have until Dec. 31, 2010, to accept the 2010 RMD, which will be based on your retirement ac- count balance at the end of 2009. Why did Congress de- cide to provide this RMD "holiday" for 2009? For the answer, you need look no farther than your IRA or 401(k) account balance. As you are well aware, 2008 was not a stellar year for the stock market. Con- sequently, as 2008 draws to a close, the market value of your IRA or 401(k) is probably considerably lower than it was in ear- lier years. This could have been a problem for you if you had to start taking RMDs in 2009, because these distributions are based, in part, on your ac- count balance at the close of the previous year- which means you may well have had to sell some stocks or other invest- ments in your retirement plan when their price was down. To help people avoid having to "sell low," REVIEW ] College Savings Iowa Giveaway State Treasurer Michael Fitzgerald recently awarded a $1,000 College Savings Iowa account to a Des Moines baby in a special ceremony held at Mercy Medical Congress acted. Center, courtesy of the College Savings Iowa BABY 529 Giveaway. Baby Vanessa is Ultimately, you will the sixth recipient of the monthly award. Her parents, Lynelle and justin Wise have to end up taking dis- received information about the giveaway program before leaving the hospital after tributions again. But be- giving birth. fore that happens, take "Little Vanessa has quite a bit of growing to do before going off to coJiege, and the some time to decide how money in this account will grow right along-side her," stated Fitzgerald, plan ad- large a distribution you ministrator. "Even in this economy some things are still Certain: children still grow should accept each year. If up fast and a college education isn't getting any cheaper. I encourage families to stay you need the monev, you focused on their long-term goals and start saving for college as soon as possible." might have to take out "New parents are busy, but it doesn't take much time or money to start saving more than the RMD. But if with College Savings Iowa. They can open an account in about ten minutes with you can get by on just the just $25," said Fitzgerald. minimum distribution, College Savings Iowa is a state-sponsored 529 plan designed to give families a you may want to do so, tax-advantaged way to save money for college. Investors can choose from thirteen thereby keeping as much Vanguard investment options, including four age-based investment tracks. Any- of your retirement ac- one-parents, grandparents, friends and relatives-can invest in College Savings Iowa count as possible in a tax- on behalf of a child. Iowa taxpayers can deduct a portion of what they contribute to deferred account, each account from their state taxable income and there are no income or residency But for now, if you have restrictions. any questions about tak- Withdrawals used to pay for qualified higher education expenses including tu- ing RMDs in 2009, contact ition; books, supplies, and room and board are free of state and federal taxes. Funds your financial and tax ad- can be used at any accredited college, university, community college or technical visors, training school in the United States or abroad. For more information on College This article was writ- Savings Iowa, call 1-888-672-9116 or visit www.collegesavingsiowa.com. ten by Edward Jones for The College Savings Iowa BABY 529 Giveway awards one college savings ac- use by your local Edward count each month to a randomly selected baby. All babies born in participating Jones Financial Advisor, Iowa hospitals are eligible to win if they are registered for the monthly drawing. Kevin Makalouf. Sixty-three hospitals currently participate in the program. "We're pleased to have so many Iowa hospitals join our effort to increase awareness about the benefits of saving for college," stated Fitzgerald. Angela Johnson, Director of Planning and Jodi JOINS U.S. Timmins, Unit Nurse Director for the Mother Baby Unit represented Mercy Medical BANK Center in the ceremony. Des Moines Hy-Vee Store Director Antonio Romeo presented the family with U.S. Bank has an- flowers, refreshments and other baby items. Hy-Vee is the only Iowa-based com- nounced that Johnna Karsjens has rejoined the pany to participate in the Upromise Rewards program which helps families add to mortgage lending staff as their college savings through their everyday spending. a Home Mortgage Con- f sultant. She brings with her 15 years of mortgage experience.Karsjens' main Come see me, Eric Sheriff, office will be at 2700 Westown Pkwy, Ste. 110, SI.ll'I(Y afternoons 1-4 West Des Moines. Looking to find more information than from the agent on duty at a house he/she is trying to sell? Stop in to Darwin Smith Realty. I am on duty to help in whatever you need! This is a great time to buy. 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