Archive for July, 2011

July 25, 2011

Mileage Rates Rise Due to High Gas Prices

Mileage Rates Rise Due to High Gas Prices
Do you drive a car, truck or van for work? If so, it's important to note that as of July 1, you're able to get an additional 4.5 cents per mile.

Businesses = 55.5 cents per mile driven (up from 51 cents through June)
Medical or moving = 23.5 cents per mile driven (up from 19 cents through June)
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) increased the mileage rate in response to the recent high gas prices. These mileage rates are used to calculate deductible costs for driving an automobile for business, medical and moving purposes.

NOTE: The rate for driving that is related to charities remains unchanged at 14 cents per mile, since that rate is set by a statute.

Make Sure You Qualify
Before you calculate your deduction, make sure you qualify. The IRS reminds taxpayers that they cannot use the standard mileage rate for a vehicle after using any depreciation method under the Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System (MACRS) or after claiming a Section 179 deduction for that vehicle.

Additional Option
Although the IRS provides the standard mileage rate for ease and convenience, you're not required to use it. If you prefer, you can calculate the actual costs of using your vehicle instead of using the standard mileage rates.

Remember – if you have questions or concerns, talk to a tax consultant or accountant to discuss your options and unique situation. You can read the official release in the IRS' Announcement 2011-40.

July 12, 2011

Facebook Launches Video Chat Feature!

Daily Real Estate News | July 7, 2011 | Share

Facebook Launches Video Chat Feature
Video chatting is coming to Facebook through a deal with Skype, announced Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s founder and chief executive, at a news conference Wednesday.

Russell Haskins with Homes & Land Media told Inman News that he sees Facebook video chat feature a powerful tool for real estate professionals in landing new clients and reaching out to younger clients.

"I guarantee you people will be interviewing agents using this new tool, whether [agents] like it or not," Haskins told Inman News. "If you're not ready, they can click on another agent and call [that agent]. I think this is another [tool] separating tech-savvy agents versus those who are timid."

Other real estate pros say they see the value in the video conferencing feature for using with oversea clients or clients relocating from other states too.

To use the video chat tool on Facebook, you’ll soon be able to just click a button on your Facebook chat list or a friend’s profile page to connect. (A plug-in download will be required to make and receive calls.) Facebook’s new video conferencing tool does not allow for group chats and is not available on mobile phones. It currently can be accessed at facebook.com/videocalling, until it officially rolls out in the next few weeks.

Facebook’s announcement follows on the heels of last week’s Google+'s limited debut, a challenger to Facebook. Google+ offers video chatting for up to 10 people through its Hangouts tool. (Read more about Google+)

Source: “Facebook Offers Video Chat in Arrangement With Skype,” The New York Times (July 7, 2011) and “Ready or Not, Here Comes Facebook Video Chat,” Inman News (July 6, 2011)