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Short Bits

TAX ID THEFT HELP

Identity theft is a growing problem and clearing up the damage done by it can be costly and time-consuming. At least the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and IRS now offer some help expediting matters, if thieves use your tax identification number. Report the theft online at IdentityTheft.gov to file IRS Form 14039. And don’t forget to work with your tax professional, who can provide you with personal assistance.

WE’RE SPENDING MORE MONEY

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that between July 2016 and June 2017, consumers spent 3.9% more than they did the year before. Cash contributions and education expenses were the two double-digit increases during this time period.

HURRICANE SEASON IN FULL SWING

Hurricane season is now entering its peak, which is as good a time as any to review some disaster readiness tips offered by the IRS. Among the tips: Update your emergency plans, create electronic copies of key documents, and photograph or videotape valuables. If you’re an employer, make sure your payroll provider has a fiduciary bond to protect you in case it is impacted and plan how employees will be paid if you’re affected.

GOOD TIME TO BUY

Gallup's annual Economy and Personal Finance poll shows that two-thirds of Americans think home prices will rise. The poll, conducted in April 2018, finds more optimism in the West and the least in the East. The 64% who believe prices will increase is the highest since the real estate bubble burst a decade ago.

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