June 1, 2000 Women on Financial Planning and Planners Women conduct their financial lives with great confidence according to the fifth Shell Poll. For example, 80% of women, in couples, say they share or take sole responsibility for making financial and investment decisions. Most of the surveyed women were very or fairly confident in making a will (73%), setting a budget and sticking to it (70%), purchasing or leasing a car (70%), buying a home (67%) or establishing a 401(k) or similar retirement account (65%). During the past 30 years, women have apparently become enthusiastic stock market investors. More than twice as many women now say they are personally interested in the day-to-day developments of the financial markets (45%) than in 1971 (21%, according to a Virginia Slims survey). More than a third (38%) of women report feeling confident in purchasing stocks or mutual funds, compared with 52% of men. But despite their economic clout and confidence the survey said businesses still do not offer women the same treatment as men. Forty-six percent of women believe investment advisors treat women worse than they treat men. New York Reduces Taxes Governor Pataki, in his continuing effort to reduce the tax burden on New Yorkers has signed into law the 2000-01 State Budget which contains many tax benefits for the average New Yorker. The following are illustrative: College Tuition Tax Credit/Deduction-a new refundable 4% credit is allowed for up to $10,000 of qualified undergraduate college tuition expenses. In lieu of the credit, taxpayers may deduct the expenses as an itemized deduction. The benefit is phased in over four years beginning with a maximum tuition expense of $2,500 in 2001. Marriage Penalty Reduction-To reduce marriage penalties, the standard deduction for married couples filing jointly increased from $13,000 to $13,400 in 2001, $14,200 in 2002, and 14,600 thereafter. Child and Dependent Care Credit-increases from 100% of the federal credit to 110% for taxpayers with incomes of $25,000 or less, and the 100% credit applies to incomes of $50,000, up from $35,000, now. The income level at which the credit equals 20% of the federal credit also increases, from $50,000 to $65,000. This applies for tax years beginning after 1999. Long Term Care Insurance Credit-effective in 2002, a new credit applies for 10% of the cost of purchasing long term care insurance. The credit applies for personal income, corporate finance, bank and insurance taxes. This will replace the current subtraction modification for personal income taxes. Any amount in excess of tax liability may be carried over to future years. Small Business Rate Reduction-The corporate franchise rate for business with entire net income of $200,000 or less drops from 7.5% to 6.85% starting for tax years beginning after June 30, 2003. S Corporation Differential Rate-is reduced by 45% for tax years beginning after June 30, 2003. Beer Tax drops from 12.5¢ to 11¢ per gallon effective September 1, 2003! Permanent Sales and Use Tax exemption for clothing and footwear went into effect March 1, 2000 for items selling for less than $110. It also applies to most fabric, thread, yarn, buttons, scraps, hooks, zippers and like items used to make or repair exempt clothing. New York Decides to Encourage Internet Companies The previously mentioned budget legislation exempts as of September 1, 2000, purchases by companies operating Internet data centers in New York (web site hosting facilities). It exempts the computer hardware and software purchased by these companies and other required equipment such as the air conditioning systems, power systems, and cabling. If you have any questions about these or any other financial matters, please call us.