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Free Tax Services

The Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency and the Wayne County Asset Building Coalition are offering free tax preparation services for families with incomes under $48,300. Call (734) 284-6999 for a list of participating locations or to schedule an appointment.

How the Governor's Proposed Budget Affects CPL

Governor Snyder released his budget proposal last week, and as expected, the news is grim. The cuts to public, school, and university libraries across the state are significant, and will affect the services that CPL will be able to provide to our community — namely, interlibrary loan and research databases.

The Governor has proposed cutting state aid to libraries to $3 million. The statutorily-required funding is $15 million. The current funding level of $5 million automatically qualifies the state to receive a federal matching grant of $5 million, which pays for MeLCat (statewide interlibrary loan) and the Michigan eLibrary (MeL — statewide research databases). Cutting state aid results in a cut to, and possibly a loss of, the matching grant, which puts MeL and MeLCat in jeopardy.

MeL and MeLCat exemplify the resource-sharing, aggregation of services, eliminating duplication of effort, and economies of scale that the Governor has emphasized over and over. More than 300 libraries — public libraries, K-12 libraries, and university libraries — pool this funding to provide services to Michigan residents. The $5 million investment by the state nets a $5 million matching grant, and saves taxpayers nearly $72 million annually, when you consider the cost to each library if they had to purchase these same resources on their own.

How to Choose a Tax Preparer

Here's what you need to know if you pay someone to do your tax return:
  • Steer clear of anyone who won't discuss fees in advance
  • Avoid big talkers
  • Check credentials
  • Don't be afraid to ask for references
  • Look for stability

For more information visit irs.gov.

IRS Ready to Accept All Returns

The IRS announced today that it is now ready to accept all income tax returns. "The IRS is now accepting all the 1040 forms," IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman said. "We worked hard to update our systems and get the changes in place as quickly as possible. We appreciate the patience of those impacted by the delay. We urge taxpayers to use e-file with direct deposit, and they can get their refunds within days." In late December 2010, the IRS announced it would delay processing of some tax returns in order to update processing systems to accommodate the late tax law changes.

This Month on DVD at the Library

New this month on DVD is Conviction directed by Tony Goldwyn. This is the true story of Betty Ann Waters and her struggle to free her brother, Kenny who is sentenced to life in prison for a crime he did not commit. The movie follows Betty Ann's 18 year journey to set Kenny free, as she completes her GED, graduates law and the complications of a new trial. This real life drama touches on the legal system, justice and the strength of a sister and brother love. With an all star cast and a great story the running time of 103 minutes should fly by. So grab some popcorn and enjoy.

President Obama to Talk Internet in Michigan's Upper Peninsula

On Thursday, February 10, President Obama will visit Marquette, Michigan, to discuss the benefits of expanding broadband internet access in the United States. In particular, the President is expected to offer praise for Northern Michigan University's 4G WiMax network, a new wireless technology that promises faster data speeds than most current cellular broadband networks. In his State of the Union address, President Obama called for a National Wireless Initiative which would expand high-speed wireless Internet access to 98 percent of Americans within five years.

Dollars and Sense

Four quick things every citizen should know from Governor Rick Snyder's new Dollars & Sense: How State and Local Governments in Michigan Spend Your Money guide to the public's checkbook. State Treasurer Andy Dillon says Lansing is about to experience "shock therapy."

How to Print Tax Forms


An Adult Services librarian walks us through our Tax Forms workstations and how easy it is to select and print IRS tax forms at Canton Public Library.

Free Tax Help for Michigan Residents

Free tax preparation is available for qualified Michigan residents at sites around the state. You can call 2-1-1 (1-800-552-1183 if 2-1-1 is unavailable in your area) for help locating the free tax site nearest you.

Tax Counseling for Canton's Seniors

Beginning Tuesday, February 1 through April 12, 2011 Free Tax Counseling for Canton's Senior taxpayers with low to moderate income will be available at the Canton Senior Center in The Summit. Appointments for those qualifying for this service will be taken beginning January 11. Morning and afternoon appointments are available however joint returns scheduled for the afternoon must have both taxpayers available. Please call (734) 394-5485 to schedule an appointment.

Tax Forms

The IRS and the Michigan Department of the Treasury have announced that they will no longer mail paper income tax packages to individual and business taxpayers. These tax packages contained the forms, schedules and instructions for filing a paper income tax return. They are taking this step because of the continued growth in electronic filing and the availability of free options to taxpayers, as well as to help reduce costs.

Because forms are so readily-available online, the Canton Public Library will severely limit the number of tax forms we provide in paper format and encourage patrons to print forms from the IRS and Michigan sites at home or in the library for a cost of $.10 per page. Instruction booklets will be provided for use in the library only.

For further information about forms you may contact:
Federal [website] or by phone at 1-800-829-3676 after January 10
State [website] or (517) 636-4486

Your Health Care Explained


Seniors have more affordable options for health coverage. At HealthCare.gov you can explore your coverage and pricing options viewing the vidcast at this site. Find out which private insurance plans, public programs, and community services are available to you. HealthCare.gov is a federal government website managed by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services — 200 Independence Avenue, S.W. — Washington, D.C. 20201. (Image Credit: HealthCare.gov)

Late Changes in Tax Law Delay Tax Season for Some

The start of the 2011 filing season will begin in January for the majority of taxpayers. However, last minute changes in the law mean that the IRS will need to reprogram its processing systems for three provisions that were extended in the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization and Job Creation Act of 2010 that became law on Dec. 17. Only three specific categories of taxpayers are affected by this:
  • Taxpayers claiming itemized deductions on Schedule A
  • Taxpayers claiming the Higher Education Tuition and Fees Deduction
  • Taxpayers claiming the Educator Expense Deduction
The IRS will announce a specific date in the near future when it can start processing tax returns impacted by the late tax law changes.

Is It Time to Hang Up Your Keys?

AARP’s “We Need to Talk” online seminar sponsored by The Hartford provides practical tips and advice on how to recognize when it’s time to limit or stop driving and how to discuss the topic with loved ones. AARP recommends you complete the three modules in sequence. Each takes approximately 30 minutes to complete and you will learn what value driving has to older adults, how to objectively assess driving skills, and how to discuss limiting and/or stopping to drive.

Law Resources

One of the results of the downturned economy is that more people than ever are representing themselves in law matters. These "self-represented litigants" often feel lost in a sea of information and are not sure where to begin. The National Center for State Courts (NCSC) and the Self-Represented Litigation Network (SRLN) teamed to host "Public Libraries and Access to Justice" which provided lists of helpful resources which we have compiled into Law Resources. The resources include: where to find legal assistance, common legal citations and where to find them, information on different types of law including family, bankruptcy, landlord tenant, debtor and creditor, elder, immigration, foreclosure, social security, veterans, and wills and estate planning laws.

Law Resources

General Law Resources

  • Legal Information Institute — features links to constitutions, statues, regulations and court opinions by jurisdiction
  • Findlaw — includes sections for the layperson, legal topics and laws for 50 states
  • Michigan Courts Self Help Center — includes information on court procedures and official court forms
  • State Bar of Michigan Online Legal Help Center — contains links on sources for different topics in the law, finding a lawyer and researching Michigan law
  • Michigan eLibrary (MeL) — information on courts, administrative decisions, finding legal assistance, legal resources, federal and multi-state legal resources, Michigan Legal resources, statutes and regulations

Family Law

Landlord Tenant

Practical Guide for Landlord and Tenants

Bankruptcy

Election 2010

November 2, 2010 is election day, and Michigan residents face many decisions this year — including selecting a new Governor. Get prepared for Tuesday by visiting the Michigan Voter Information Center. This site contains all your necessary information including polling locations and more. Don't forget to check out the League of Women Voters Guide which can be helpful in sorting through all the candidates and issues.

Pirate Politics

In 2006, a new political force emerged in Sweden: the Pirate Party, or Piratpartiet in Swedish. The party's platform focuses on copyright and patent issues, as well as personal privacy and government transparency. Unlike parties in the United States, the Swedish Pirate Party does not have a full platform of social and policy issues, instead sticking to its foundational principles.

People in the United States have attempted to form similar organizations, though the political structure of the U.S. is different.
Below are some books about copyright, patents, privacy, and government transparency, as well as some information about prominent third parties in American History:

Copyright

The copyright handbook : how to protect & use written works by Stephen Fishman

The copyright book [electronic resource] : a practical guide by William S. Strong

The illustrated story of copyright by Edward Samuels

Copyright's highway : from Gutenberg to the celestial jukebox by Paul Goldstein

Freedom of expression® : overzealous copyright bozos and other enemies of creativity by Kembrew McLeod


Patents

Popular patents : America's first inventions from the airplane to the zipper by Travis Brown

How to make patent drawings yourself : a "Patent it yourself" companion by Jack Lo and David Pressman

Protecting your ideas : the inventor's guide to patents by Joy L. Bryant


Privacy

Code : and other laws of cyberspace by Lawrence Lessig

Database nation : the death of privacy in the 21st century by Simon Garfinkel

Griswold v. Connecticut : contraception and the right of privacy by Susan C. Wawrose

No place to hide by Robert O'Harrow, Jr

Privacy lost : how technology is endangering your privacy by David H. Holtzman ; foreword by Evan Bayh


Transparency

Tactical transparency : how leaders can leverage social media to maximize value and build their brand by Shel Holtz, John C. Havens ; foreword by Lynne D. Johnson

Transparency : how leaders create a culture of candor by Warren Bennis, Daniel Goleman, James O'Toole ; with Patricia Ward Biederman

The writer's legal guide : an authors guild desk reference by Tad Crawford and Kay Murray


Third Parties

Spoiling for a fight : third-party politics in America by Micah L. Sifry

Radicals for capitalism : a freewheeling history of the modern American libertarian movement by Brian Doherty

Mad as hell : how the Tea Party movement is fundamentally remaking our two-party system by Scott Rasmussen and Doug Schoen

1912 : Wilson, Roosevelt, Taft & Debs-- the election that changed the country by James Chace

Dear senator : a daughter's memoir by Essie Mae Washington-Williams and William Stadiem

Crashing the party : taking on the corporate government in an age of surrender by Ralph Nader

Medicare Recipients Be Alert!

Medicare recipients who are eligible for what is being called the Donut Hole Rebate will be interested in the July 31, 2010 interview of Michigan Office of Services to the Aging director, Sharon L. Gire to explain eligibility for the Medicare Donut Hole rebate payment. Ms. Gire was interviewed by Laurel Hess, host of Comcast Newsmakers.