WHAT TO DO ABOUT YOUR HOME’S ‘ENERGY VAMPIRES’ DON’T LET HIDDEN ENERGY COSTS DRAIN YOUR BANK ACCOUNT
We’ve all been there: You’re hit with an unusually high energy bill and you aren’t sure why. While we expect our energy bills to increase during certain times of the year, we still expect some consistency. When there are unusual bumps, we want to know why. In some cases, these unusual bumps can be traced to hidden energy drains, or “energy vampires.” Most of these energy vampires are far more insidious than a noticeable bump to your energy bill. Why? Because we’re often paying for electricity we didn’t even realize we were using. What are these energy drains and what can you do about them? ELECTRONICS TVs, PCs, surround sound equipment, and video game consoles typically drain energy. It
comes down to the simple fact that practically every electronic device made today stays “on” even when we turn it off. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that these electronics — while off — still contribute to more than 10% of household energy bills. Some electronics offer settings that allow people to truly turn them off, but even that’s not a guarantee. Another option, however, is to use energy-saving power strips or plug-ins. These power strips allow you to control power to select devices — and ensure these devices are only powered when you want them to be. APPLIANCES Appliances like refrigerators, dishwashers, washing machines, and dryers can be used very inefficiently. Refrigerators, for example, work best when they’re full. If you have a fridge with
only a few things in it, you’re wasting a lot of energy. When it comes to dishwashers, washing machines, and dryers, make sure you run larger, less frequent loads. Running the appliances for smaller loads is very costly — even with ENERGY STAR-rated appliances. One of the biggest energy drains in the home is the electric water heater. For the most part, that’s to be expected. But what people don’t realize is that sometimes, the water temperature is set too high. In this case, your water heater has to work extra hard to keep the temperature up, resulting in an energy drain. The best way to combat this is to simply lower the temperature on the unit.
GOOD NEWS: MONEY IS COMING!
Your 2021 Child Tax Credit Questions, Answered
HOW MUCH MONEY WILL I GET? In the past, the CTC only paid out up to $2,000 per qualifying child under the age of 17. Now, for families that receive the increase (see above), it’s $3,000 for each qualifying child who is between 6 and 17 at the end of the year, and $3,600 for each qualifying child under 6. CAN I OPT OUT OF EARLY PAYMENTS? Yes! An opt-out option will be live soon on IRS.gov if it isn’t there already. If you opt out, you will still receive the full CTC credit your family qualifies for, but instead of receiving up to 50% of it in the form of early payments from July–December and the rest after filing, you’ll receive it all after filing your 2021 return. WHAT IF MY PAYMENTS NEVER COME? If you don’t get any advance payments, a couple things could have happened. Either you opted out, you weren’t eligible for the CTC in 2020, or the
Yes, you read that headline right! Earlier this year, the Biden administration passed an update to the Child Tax Credit (CTC) as part of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). If you claimed the CTC on your 2020 tax return, that might mean more money for you and your family starting as soon as this summer. WHAT CHANGED? To put it briefly, ARPA increased the amount of the 2021 Child Tax Credit for families that make under $150,000 (married filing jointly, or qualified widows or widowers), $112,500 (heads of household), or $75,000 (all other taxpayers) in annual income. This year, payments totalling up to 50% of the CTC amount will also go out in advance starting in July and continuing through December. WHY WERE THE CHANGES MADE? It appears the changes were a reaction to COVID-19, and the payments are meant to help families get through the last few tough months of the pandemic.
IRS messed up. The best way to find out which of those things happened and get it straightened out is to call me at 262-752-6992.
WWW.FRANCETICTAXRESOLUTION.COM | 262-752-6992
Made with FlippingBook - Online Brochure Maker