Monthly Archives: February 2013

Tax Incentives for Higher Education

tax advice from westchester tax preparation firm

You may be able to save money on your taxes if you qualify for these educational tax credits and deductions


Westchester tax preparers at Herman & Company CPA’s have all the answers to your personal finance questions!

The tax code provides a variety of tax incentives for families who are paying higher education costs or are repaying student loans. You may be able to claim an American Opportunity Credit (formerly called the Hope Credit) or Lifetime Learning Credit for the qualified tuition and related expenses of the students in your family (i.e. you, your spouse, or dependent) who are enrolled in eligible educational institutions. Different rules apply to each credit and the ability to claim the credit phases out at higher income levels.

If you don’t qualify for the credit, you may be able to claim the “tuition & fees deduction” for qualified educational expenses. You cannot claim this deduction if your filing status is married filing separately or if another person can claim an exemption for you as a dependent on his or her tax return. This deduction phases out at higher income levels.

You may be able to deduct interest you pay on a qualified student loan. The deduction is claimed as an adjustment to income so you do not have to itemize your deductions on Schedule A Form 1040. However, this deduction is also phased out at higher income levels.

Our Westchester CPA firm is your one-stop shop to maximizing your tax deductions. Herman & Company, Certified Public Accountants & Consultants proudly serves businesses and individuals inWestchester County, NY, Armonk, NY, Bedford, NY, Bedford Hills, NY, Chappaqua, NY, Harrison, NY, Katonah, NY, Larchmont, NY, Mt. Kisco, NY, Rye Brook, NY, Pound Ridge, NY, Purchase, NY, Rye, NY, Scarsdale, NY, White Plains, NY and Greenwich, CT.

Using Reverse Mortgage as a Cash Resource

Reverse mortgage tip from a westchester cpa

Using a reverse mortgage on your home can provide you with the cash you need.


Westchester tax preparers at Herman & Company CPA’s have all the answers to your personal finance questions!

When an older homeowner has significant equity in his or her residence and needs funds, but lacks the resources to make monthly payments on a conventional mortgage, a reverse mortgage might provide a solution. A reverse mortgage is so-called because the mortgage balance normally increases over the term of the loan, rather than decreasing as the balance of a conventional mortgage does. A reverse mortgage allows a homeowner to receive loan proceeds over a certain period (by borrowing against equity in the home) while continuing to live in the house. (Other loan distribution options are available.)

An older homeowner may be motivated to obtain a reverse mortgage for many reasons. These include paying off an existing mortgage; purchasing a new residence; paying taxes, medical expenses, insurance, and household upkeep costs; covering financial emergencies; supplementing monthly income; paying nursing home expenses; and providing rainy day funds.

The amount a lender will advance depends primarily on the borrower’s age, equity in the home, and the interest rate. The older the homeowner, the larger the advances can be because there will probably be fewer advances than a younger homeowner would receive. Also, the more equity in the home, the larger the monthly advances can be. Finally, a lower interest rate can lead to larger advances.

In a typical case, the house will be sold at some point (normally after the borrower dies) to pay off the mortgage. Since the loan typically defers all repayment until the house is sold or the borrower dies, lending decisions may be based primarily on the home’s value rather than on the borrower’s creditworthiness and ability to make monthly payments as in the typical loan underwriting process.

In most cases, to qualify for a reverse mortgage, the homeowner must be at least 62 years old. He or she must also own the home outright or be able to pay off any balance with a portion of the reverse mortgage proceeds. To avoid default, the homeowner must maintain the home, pay property taxes, and provide insurance.

Caution: The expenses associated with reverse mortgages are high. Homeowners could pay as much as 7% to 8% of their home’s value in closing costs as well as a higher interest rate than with a regular mortgage or home equity loan.

For more tax tips and information, visit our website at, or call us to speak directly with experts at our White Plains accounting firm, 914.400.0300.

5 Tips for Early Tax Preparation

Westchester taxes can be done early!

Filing your taxes early means no last-minute stress!


Westchester tax preparation firm Herman & Company CPA’s has all the answers to your personal finance questions!

Earlier is better when it comes to working on your taxes. The IRS encourages everyone to get a head start on tax preparation. Not only do you avoid the last-minute rush, early filers also get a faster refund.

There are five easy ways to get a good jump on your taxes:

  1. Gather your records in advance. Make sure you have all the records you need, including W-2s and 1099s. Don’t forget to save a copy for your files.
  2. Get the right forms. They’re available around the clock on in the Forms and Publications section.
  3. Take your time. Don’t forget to leave room for a coffee break when filling out your tax return. Rushing can mean making a mistake and that can be expensive!
  4. Double-check your math and Social Security number. These are among the most common errors on tax returns. Taking care on these reduces your chances of hearing from the IRS.
  5. Get the fastest refund. When you file early, you get your refund faster. Using e-filing with direct deposit gets you a refund in half the time as paper filing.

For more tax tips and information, visit our website at, or call us to speak directly with experts at our White Plains accounting firm, 914.400.0300. Proudly serving all the towns of Westchester County, including Armonk, NY, Bedford, NY, Mt. Kisco, NY, Rye, NY, Scarsdale, NY, and beyond.

Any U.S. tax advice contained in the body of this website is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, by the recipient for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed under the Internal Revenue Code or applicable state or local tax law provisions.