Archive for the ‘Curtis Money’ Category

7 Reasons to Visit (and Revisit) the Curtis Library

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

1. A rainbow of reading for all ages

cooking and entertaining neighborhood - 2nd floor

cooking and entertaining neighborhood – 2nd floor

At Curtis, readers will be pleased to find the New Books Room, the Best Seller Express, the large print collection, monthly themes such as “Royal Reads” and “O Canada Mysteries,” and Book “Neighborhoods” such as “Biographies” and “Crafts & Hobbies.”

But did you know many popular e-books can be checked out as well? The best part of that technology? No need to return so no risk of late fees. You can borrow ereaders from Curtis as well. But, you need to return those.

2. Wi-Free

Curtis offers free high-speed wifi. Public computers connected to Networked Printers are available as well. Whether you're job seeking or catching up with old friends, this is a great option to save money on the cost of monthly Internet access.

Curtis offer software and other resources to help patrons create resumes and other employment materials.

3. Research

Another cool part is that you can often avoid many pay walls for databases like Ancestry.com, HeritageQuest, MARVEL! and LearningExpress.

4. That's entertainment

Curtis members (i.e. Library card holders) can download ebooks, audiobooks and movies for free. You can also borrow CDs from the library’s varied and extensive music collection.

Safety Last - Criterion Collection DVD

Safety Last – Criterion Collection DVD

Peruse the DVD section of Curtis and you might be surprised by what you find. Curtis buys the latest popular releases, classic films, international films and notable films from the Criterion Collection.

Take the Library Art Walk: Curtis has an extensive collection of paintings, textiles, historical maps & photos, rugs, and statues.

5. Staying for the course

Classes at Curtis include everything from crafting "make and takes" to tech meetup "appy hours" to Cornerstones of Science presentations to food lit discussions. Local organizations and educational institutions such as the Midcoast Senior College frequently hold lively multimedia presentations at Curtis.

(Follow Curtis on Twitter to be notified of such events.)

staying-for-the-course

Craft Meetup: Folded Book Pages

6. Social network

Curtis offers numerous weekly events for young children and their caregivers such as “Finger Fun With Miss Teresa,” “Time for Twos” and the “Musical Toddler Gathering.” It's a chance for new parents to introduce their babies to reading and to other families.

Programs designed for teens such as “NERF Turf” and the “Chocolate Fest” are also becoming increasingly popular.

Nearly half of library users brought their child to a class or other event, according to a Library Services in a Digital Age survey.

Book clubs are another way to meet other readers and socialize. Curtis offers the Monday Afternoon Book Group and the Just Desserts Mystery Discussion Group.

7. Peace & Quiet

Study rooms are a great option if you're a teen working on a group project or someone who just needs some time to enjoy the sound of silence. Rooms used for quiet study and tutoring are located on the 2nd floor of the library near the Reference Desk.

What is your favorite part of your library? Visit our Facebook page and let us know.

I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.
― Jorge Luis Borges

Tax Forms Update

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

Update 2/4/14

Forms and instruction books for 1040, 1040A, and 1040EZ have arrived.
1040s

Update 1/29/14

1040 A & 1040 EZ instructions only are here.

Update 1/23/14

The following 2013 Federal tax forms, schedules and publications are available in the Curtis Lobby:

Forms

  • 2106 – Employee Business Expenses
  • 3903 – Moving Expenses
  • 4652 – Depreciation and Amortization
  • 5695 – Residential Energy Credits
  • 8829 – Expenses for Business Use of Your Home
  • 8863 – Education Credits

Schedules

  • Schedule C-EZ – Net Profit From Business
  • Schedule R – Credit for the Elderly or the Disabled
  • Schedule SE – to figure the tax due on net earnings from self-employ-
    ment

Publications

  • 334 – Tax Guide for. Small Business
  • 501 – Exemptions, Standard Deduction, and Filing Information
  • 529 – Miscellaneous Deductions
  • 936 – Home Mortgage Interest Deduction
  • 596 – Earned Income Credit (EIC)

download_tax_form_icon

1040, 1040A and 1040EZ

Instruction booklets (1040, 1040A and 1040EZ) – expect receipt by mid February. Some freight deliveries may go through late February

Maine Tax Forms

Maine state tax forms will not be available for pickup at Curtis (or anywhere else). Maine state tax forms may be downloaded from the Maine Revenue Services website.

To request printed tax forms, call 207-624-7894 or write to:

PO Box 9107
Augusta, ME 04332-9107

Help Downloading Tax Forms

Many IRS tax forms and publications can be downloaded from the IRS.gov website and printed at Curtis for $.10 per page.

If you need help, ask a Curtis librarian.

Here is my principle: Taxes shall be levied according to ability to pay. That is the only American principle.
—Franklin D. Roosevelt

Two-Part Program on Identity Theft

Monday, February 3rd, 2014

Based on the FDIC’s Money Smart Financial Education Series – These videos were produced by the Apache Junction Public Library, AZ and made possible by a grant from the FINRA Investor Education Foundation through Smart investing@your library®, a partnership with the American Library Association.

It is a good thing to learn caution from the misfortunes of others.
–Publilius Syrus

IRS form 1099 CAUTION!

Monday, February 3rd, 2014

Form-1099The form that appears as a PDF on the IRS website is there only for informational purposes! You cannot use this form for reporting purposes.

Here is what the IRS website says about Form 1099:

“This form is provided for informational purposes only. Copy A appears in red, similar to the official IRS form. Do not file copy A downloaded from this website. The official printed version of this IRS form is scannable, but the online version of it, printed from this website, is not. A penalty may be imposed for filing forms that can’t be scanned.”

You need to obtain the form either from

  • an IRS office
  • your local office supply store
  • 1-800-TAX-FORM (1-800-829-3676)

New Program to Help with Rent and Property Taxes

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

property-taxesThe Property Tax Fairness Credit went into effect on January 1, 2014 and replaces the “Circuitbreaker” Property Tax and Rent Refund, and should be filed through the State of Maine taxes, even if you don’t normally file for taxes.

When completing your taxes this year, you should be aware that you may be eligible for a credit of up to $300 if you are 69 or younger and up to $400 if you are over the age of 70.

  • Due to stricter eligibility limits, many fewer people will get help with their property taxes or rent.
  • The credit is “refundable.” This means that you can get the help, even if you owe nothing in taxes (or owe less than the amount of the credit).

There are four eligibility requirements for the program:

  1. Were Maine residents during any part of the tax year;
  2. Owned or rented a home in Maine during any part of the tax year and lived in that home during the year;
  3. Had Maine adjusted gross income of not more than $40,000; and;
  4. Paid property tax on a home in Maine during the tax year that was more than 10% of Maine adjusted gross income or paid rent to live in a home or apartment in Maine during the tax year that was more than 40% of Maine adjusted gross income.

How does someone apply for the refundable credit?

To claim the credit, an applicant must file the 2013 Form 1040ME and the Property Tax Fairness Credit Worksheet.

Form 1040ME

Forms can be downloaded from the Maine Revenue Services web site at http://www.maine.gov/revenue/forms or by calling 207-624-7894 to request that a form be mailed.

Free Tax Help at the Curtis Library

Free Tax preparation assistance through AARP volunteers will be available at the Curtis Library beginning February 3 and we are currently taking appointments.

Call the Reference Desk at 725-5242 ext. 510.

Help for Job Searchers

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

job-search-neighborhood

Job Search Neighborhood

If a person is unemployed they have two options:

1. Keep searching for work.

2. Hire themselves by starting their own business (which we will cover how to do in upcoming Curtis Money posts).

Curtis supports job seekers with a plethora of resources.

Curtis’ Job Search Neighborhood

On the second floor of the library, we have:

  • Professionally maintained, high-speed Internet connected PCs for online job searching.
  • A collection of up-to-date books on all aspects of job searching including how to create a resume, job interviews, cover letters, et al.
  • Software for creating resumes and cover letters (Curtis staff members will be standing by to assist)
  • A black & white network printer for printing resumes and cover letters ($.10 per page)
  • One-on-one assistance from professional librarians with the technical and non-technical aspects of 21st century job searching

Every new day is another chance to change your life.
—Anonymous

Library Services for Businesses and Self-Employed

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

curtis-money-2

Reference Books and Public PCs with Microsoft Office

  • Business books in collection on a variety of topics from starting a business, promoting a business, management issues and more
  • Online business databases with articles from business journals, trade publications, magazines
  • Financial Literacy collection – budgeting, investments, saving, etc.
  • Free WiFi
  • Public computers with Microsoft Office (save your work to a flash drive or your Dropbox – be sure to ask for help if you need it)
  • Photocopier- black & white only, 10 cents per page
  • Tutoring Rooms for meetings with 2 to 5 people (can reserve up to a week in advance)
  • Research Assistance from Professional Librarians

>>>> Business and Community Partnership Program

Maine Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)

Monday, January 13th, 2014

heating assistanceThe Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (commonly called LIHEAP or HEAP) provides money to low income homeowners and renters to help pay heating costs.

Eleven Community Action Programs distribute the funds throughout Maine, in most cases directly to the fuel vendors.

Household Size* Maximum Income Level (Per Year)
1 $16,755
2 $22,695
3 $28,635
4 $34,575
5 $40,515
6 $46,455
7 $52,395
8 $58,335

*For households with more than eight people, add $5,940 per additional person.

The Opportunity Alliance

Contact your local Community Action Program (CAP) agency to apply:
The Opportunity Alliance
Phone: 207-553-5800
Toll Free: 800-698-4959
TTY: 207-874-1013

NOTE: If you need assistance accessing and applying for any and all of the benefits that Maine residents are entitled to – please ask a Curtis Librarian.

FINRA Financial Literacy Quiz

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

Take the Take the Financial Literacy Quiz and see how you compare to the state or national results.

5 Ways to Supplement Your Income Using Library Resources

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

Contemporary public libraries are not just about books, music and movies.

You can also use the resources at Curtis to improve your financial situation.

  • Search the library catalog for books on how to start a home or online business. Need help? Ask a reference librarian.
  • Make yourself more marketable in the job market by gaining additional computer skills and/or preparing for examinations. Need help? Ask a reference librarian.
  • Check out a book on How to sell on eBay. Need help? Ask a reference librarian.
  • Do you have a story to tell? Search the library catalog for books on self-publishing. Search MARVEL! for articles on self-publishing. Need help? Ask a reference librarian.
  • Use the library’s job search computers to search for a 2nd job and to update your resume. Need help? Ask a reference librarian.

In addition to providing guided access to the information and technical know-how necessary to make money by starting a business, selling on eBay, self-publishing a book and/or acquiring a second job, Curtis also provides public PCs, printers and free Wi-Fi.

Need help with the computers?

Curtis librarians are often able to provide assistance with basic computer tasks such as editing and formatting resumes, exporting Word documents as PDFs (necessary for self-publishing) and uploading digital photos (recommended for creating eBay auctions).

Libraries will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no libraries.

― Anne Herbert

How to Select a Financial Institution

Friday, April 19th, 2013

curtis money blog post imageDespite the fact that online banks tend to offer more competitive rates of interest than “brick and mortar” banks, you may prefer — or may also have need for — a physical bank that has “real” people that can help you with your financial needs.

Here are some important factors to consider:

Accessibility: Is the financial institution close to your home, school, work, etc.? How convenient are its hours? Other accessibility factors could include: ample parking, a drive-up window, automated teller machines (ATMs), outlying branches, internet banking, bill paying services and mobile banking.

Annual Percentage Rate (APR): When shopping for consumer loans for the purchase of items like cars, boats, and homes, it pays to find the lender offering the lowest APR. The difference of ½ of one percent on a mortgage loan can equal thousands of dollars of savings over the term of that loan.

Annual Percentage Yield (APY): The term Annual Percentage Yield (APY) represents the, percentage rate reflecting the total amount of interest paid on an account, based on the interest rate, and the frequency of compounding for a 365 day period. APYs make comparison shopping for savings accounts and CD’s much easier. Simply select the highest yield or APY.

Service: If you already have an account ask yourself, “Are the employees of the financial institution friendly? Professional? Knowledgeable? Accurate? Do I waste too much time in long teller lines?” For comparisons, ask friends and relatives about the service quality at their financial institution.

Service Charges: These fees vary widely from institution to institution! Savings accounts can have minimum balance requirements, monthly fees for not keeping that balance, or no fees/balance requirements at all! Checking accounts may have monthly fees, per check fees for items both written and deposited, overdraft charges for “bouncing” checks, etc. There may be fees for ATM transaction, bill paying services or mobile banking transactions.

Source: Maine Bureau of Financial Institutions’ Consumer Outreach Program

Pros and Cons of Online Banking – Part 2

Monday, April 8th, 2013

online bankingAs related in a previous Curtis Money Blog post, online banks such as Ally offer higher rates of interest than traditional “brick and mortar” banks as well as other advantages such as interest-bearing checking accounts with no minimum balances.

But are there any drawbacks to banking online?

1) There won’t be a physical person you can talk in case of a problem.

2) Funds that you transfer from a “brick and mortar” bank will not be available for up to 5 business days.

3) You can’t deposit cash — and certainly not rolled up coins — into an online bank account.

4) You can deposit a check directly into an online bank account but you would need to use a computer or camera-equipped mobile device to do so.

5) You don’t need to own your own computer (or internet-enabled mobile device) to bank online but you would need to be wary of shoulder surfers when you access any private information while using a public computer.

April is Financial Literacy Month

Monday, April 1st, 2013

April is financial literacy monthApril is time to celebrate Financial Literacy Month! But what is financial literacy?

Earning, saving, spending, investing, budgeting, collecting, and giving are all part of handling money.

And handling money wisely is what financial literacy is all about.

Recommended Resources from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency

Building Wealth

The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas offers this personal finance resource, which can be used individually or in the classroom to help young people develop plans for building personal wealth.

Consumer.Data.Gov

The Obama administration launched the Smart Disclosure Data Community to make potentially useful data available to consumers and innovators. This centralized platform contains hundreds of smart disclosure datasets and resources from dozens of agencies across government.

eXtension Personal Finance

The USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) hosts this Web site, which provides free resources to help people meet day-to-day expenses while saving and investing for the future. The site offers research-based fact sheets, interactive lessons, recorded webinars, and land grant university faculty members who answer questions about personal finance via the “Ask the Expert” application.

IRS.gov Accessibility

This IRS Web site offers a full line of tax products and services, including federal tax forms and publications, for people who use special assistive technology, such as screen-reading software, refreshable Braille displays, and voice recognition software.

MyMoneyCheckUp

The National Foundation for Credit Counseling offers this Web site, which analyzes users’ behavior and provides customized feedback, allowing individuals and families to monitor and assess their financial lives and adjust their behavior to maximize their economic empowerment. The site is also available in Spanish.

How to Fight Hyperconsumerism by Buying Nothing

Wednesday, March 6th, 2013

Gift of the Magi Tips and strategies on how to resist the urge to splurge from wikiHow:

1. Examine your spending habits. Are your buying decisions motivated by your own values or by advertisements? Don’t be influenced by consumerism and an obsession with spending.

2. Stay home. If you don’t need to shop, don’t go shopping simply because you are bored. Don’t use shopping as a recreation or amusement.

3. Leave the money at home. The easiest way to not buy anything is simply not to take any cash, checks, debit cards, or credit cards with you when you go out.

4. Avoid plastic. Try putting your credit card in a container with some water and freezing it. That way you have it for holidays and emergencies but not just to go buy stuff.

5. Buy used. If you really need something and haven’t been able to beg, borrow, or dumpster-dive it, go to a thrift shop and get one for pennies on the dollar.

- MORE -

NOTE: The tips on the wikiHow page are first rate but the inline advertisements are not part of the article.

Five Tips to Keep Your Finances from Going Off a Cliff

Tuesday, March 5th, 2013

FINRAHere is a new resource with lots of practical information to help anyone manage their money.

This new Investor Checklist from the FINRA Investor Education foundation is now available for PDF download.

Hard copies can be ordered by sending an e-mail to susan.sarver@finra.org