Pennies for Children

Trenton Thunder Corporate Outings

Y2K and U

MS Office Certificate

Corrections or additions?

These articles were published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on December 22,

1999. All rights reserved.

Charity & Taxes

It’s end of year rush-to-donate time. For just one more

week you can make a donation that will help to slash next year’s

federal

income tax bill. Rose Dultz & Associates, the CPAs at 13 Roszel Road

(609-452-7733) has these tips.

Individuals can take deductions for charitable gifts only if you

itemize

your deductions on your federal income tax.

For donations of $250 or more, you must obtain and keep

an acknowledgement of your contribution.

For donations of $500 or more, you must keep documentation

about the recipient, a description of the donated property, its fair

market value when donated, how you arrived at this value, and how

you acquired the property. You must also complete a 8283 IRS Form

and attach it to your tax return.

For property worth more than $5,000 you must have a

qualified

appraiser determine the value. This does not apply to publicly traded

securities and nonpublicly traded stock for which the deduction

claimed

is greater than $5,000 but no more than $10,000.

If you contribute property you will generally be entitled to an income

tax deduction for the "fair market value" of the donated

property.

But your gift must be made without any strings attached. For example,

if you donate property and receive tickets to an event or other

privileges,

you can deduct only the portion of your donation that is a true gift

— for which nothing is received by you.

Gifts of capital gain can be favorable from a tax perspective

because not only are you allowed to deduct the cost of the property,

but you can deduct the paper profit on which you have not paid tax.

The gain on property escapes income taxes altogether.

Thus, if you bought publicly traded stock for $12,000 two years ago,

and it’s worth $20,000 now, you can sell the stock and donate the

proceeds to qualified charity. You will pay a maximum of 20 percent

federal capital gains tax on your $8,000 gain, or $1,600. This leaves

you with $18,4000 to give to the charity and deduct for tax purposes.

The tax-wise route would be to donate the stock directly to the

charity,

and be able to take a $20,000 charitable contribution deduction, and

owe no capital gains on $8,000 of appreciation.

Top Of Page
Pennies for Children

Counting the pennies? These days, busy people are more

likely to count bills than the smallest of coins. If you take them

to a bank to be collected you will get charged for the counting fee.

But Better Beginnings, a non-profit child care center in Hightstown,

set out to collect 1 million pennies ($10,000) by December 15 and

surpassed that goal a week early. The collectors are planning a

celebration

in January and are starting on their second million.

The penny collection is one of the ways the community has responded

to the crisis created by damaging funding cuts. "Pennies come

in from all over. If you drop them off, somebody here will count them

— staff members, parents, or board members," says teacher

Althea Lewis. "Everybody pitches in together. Even the

children

here count the pennies, sitting at a table with a teacher."

The 32-year-old center offers affordable child care, prevention

programs,

and adult workshops. Recent components added to close gaps include

a literacy program and a small computer lab. Funded by the United

Way and other sources, the center determines its fees on a sliding

scale, according to family income. For instance, a family of three

need pay only $2.10 per week if the annual household income totals

$1,800 or less.

More than $10,356 has been collected to date. "This achievement

is the result of a community pulling together, helping in various

ways, to assure that Better Beginnings has been able to keep its doors

open," says founder Bettie Witherspoon. Steve Wendell,

better known as the Ice Cream Man, collected more than 6,300 pennies

on his rounds. Dennis McClary, who works at Sarnoff, collected

more than 30,000 pennies, and Sparky James, a female auctioneer,

collected more than 7,100 pennies at various auctions. "Top

honors,

overall, go to Homer Justice, a sheriff’s officer, who pledged

to collect more than 50,000 pennies or equivalent, and did, with the

assistance of his many friends." The nonprofit also has an

endowment

fund with memorials honoring various community leaders.

Volunteers are needed to be nurturing assistants and literacy

volunteers;

call 448-6226. The center is also looking for craft and needlework

items, and at Lisa Marie’s Craft and Unique Gift Shop on Main Street

in Hightstown, sales of some of these items will benefit Better

Beginnings.

For the holidays, Better Beginnings recommends peaceful and

constructive

toys. "No matter how expensive the toy children may receive, they

always seem to settle down with and enjoy the most those gifts that

inspire their creativity," says Witherspoon. A special craft idea

with directions may be placed in a brown bag or other container, along

with all the materials needed to complete the project. Kits can be

expensive but self-prepared ones are very reasonable, especially when

recyclable materials are used. Several craft ideas that may be adapted

for such kits can be found at Better Beginnings’ website, along with

favorite recipes for play dough and "snow," at

http://www.princetonol.com/groups/bbcdc.

You can also get tips on choosing appropriate toys from the U.S.

Consumer

Product Safety Commission (http://www.cpsc.gov.

Top Of Page
Trenton Thunder Corporate Outings

Trenton Thunder’s two luxury suites went up for rent

on Monday, December 13. Businesses can start booking them for the

2000 season.

The suites, located on third base side of home plate next to the

Stadium

Club Restaurant, cost $650 per game, with a maximum of 30 individuals

permitted inside. Purchase of the suite includes 20 game tickets,

but an additional 10 tickets can be purchased for $15 each. Food and

beverages are available for an additional charge.

Waterfront Park also has a picnic area that accommodates groups as

large as 154, a picnic area that includes buffet tables, and a

separate

section where there are seats for up to 80 individuals. Call the group

sales department at 609-394-TEAM to get a schedule of games and to

book.

Top Of Page
Y2K and U

It’s unlikely . . . but it can’t be ruled out,"

is what the government says about Y2K. That’s the ubiquitous phrase

used in "Y2K and You," a consumer pamphlet on the Y2K issue

recently published by the President’s Council on Year 2000 Conversion,

along with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Federal Trade

Commissioned. You can get a copy by calling 888-USA-4Y2K, or visiting

http://www.y2k.gov.

The pamphlet covers Y2K for the novice and the more socially alert.

It also breaks down Y2K remediation progress by industry. For example,

the electric power industry, according to the pamphlet, has completed

most of its Y2K remediation work, but local power outages can’t be

ruled out. Water system operators are prepared to go to back up manual

operations; the Fed, the FDIC, and the Office of the Comptroller of

the Currency have also undertaken an examinations of their procedures,

and feel confident about the date change. Credit card companies are

on the ball, and even the media is stepping up Y2K compliance, so

that, even if we’re in the dark literally, we won’t be figuratively

speaking.

"Y2K and You" also includes a fairly extensive checklist for

each household:

Prepare as you would for a long holiday by having at least

a three-day supply of food and water (one gallon per person per day)

on hand.

Make a personal assessment of critical items, such as

services required by family members with special needs.

Have a supply of tools, clothing, flashlights, batteries,

a battery-powered radio, and a first aid kit.

Keep copies of important financial statements, medical

records and prescription drug information.

Develop a list of phone numbers for hospitals, police,

and fire departments.

Only withdraw enough cash for a long weekend.

Refill prescriptions.

Keep your gas tank half full.

Use telephones and Internet only as necessary on January

1, to prevent delays caused by high volume.

The final vote of confidence from our government: "While

it is unlikely the Y2K issue will affect most of the appliances and

electronic equipment we use in our homes, the large number and

interconnectivity

of computers we depend upon every day may make Y2K a serious

challenge."

Top Of Page
MS Office Certificate

Make it a New Year’s resolution to learn Microsoft Word,

Excel, PowerPoint, or better yet, all three. Mercer County Community

College is offering Microsoft Office Certificate, a 10-week, "from

the ground up," program beginning on Monday, January 24, that

provides instruction for introductory levels of Windows, Word, Excel,

PowerPoint, and Access, and Intermediate Word, Excel, and Access.

Classes are held on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 8:30 a.m. to

3 p.m at the West Windsor Campus. Cost: $2,600, including books. A

second session is being held from April 5 to June 21.

Mercer College’s Institute for Business and Professional Development

is also beginning the second semester of a new noncredit certificate

program in Medical Practice Management on Wednesday, January 5.

Participants

are required to take courses in "Computers and Medical

Technology,"

"Financial Tools for Office Management," and "The Medical

Environment." Call 609-586-9446.


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