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Tax Update - 2008 update

Two new tax laws tax updates were enacted in 2008 that you should be aware of:

  • The Heroes Earnings Assistance and Relief Tax Act of 2008
  • The Heartland, Habitat, Harvest and Horticulture Act of 2008

Both of these were passed on June 18, 2008.

The Heroes Earnings Assistance and Relief Act, also known as the HEART Act, allows thousands of active military personnel to qualify for the economic stimulus payments, relaxes rules on the earned income credit, and enables penalty free withdrawals from pension plans and the ability to access unspent amounts held in their flexible spending accounts.

The Heartland, Habitat, Harvest and Horticulture Act, also known as the "HHHH Act", includes tax incentives for farmers as well as revenue off-sets affecting individuals and businesses outside of farming. This act also provides disaster assistance for areas in Kansas. Note that tax professional have told us that "This part of the act has tremendous advantages to many real estate investors".

The HHHH Act extends the Katrina Go Zone Provisions to counties in Kansas and allows 50 percent bonus depreciation on residential and nonresidential rental property placed into service in the 2007 “Kansas disaster area” after May 3, 2007 and before January 1, 2010. Net operating losses will be allowed a five-year carry-back. These provisions will follow the same guidelines as those for Hurricane Katrina and the Go Zone as provided by The GOZA Tax Act that passed in 2005. This means the benefits of the Go Zone have now been extended to the Kansas area; thus, anyone looking to purchase Go Zone real estate can now take advantage of property in the Kansas area.

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As with any tax law change, it is always recommended that you review your current tax situation to see how any of these laws may affect you now and in the future. Tax planning is key. A well-executed tax plan can save you time and money.

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