Every new year brings the requirement that landlords learn the new interest rate to be paid on certain residential security deposits. 2013 is no exception. The Illinois Security Deposit Interest Act requires covered landlords to pay interest on certain residential security deposits based upon “the interest paid by the largest commercial bank, as measured by total assets, having its main banking premises in this State on Continue reading
The City of Chicago has announced an increase in the cost of a “Certificate of Zoning Compliance” needed for the sale of all non-condominium/co-op residential properties consisting of five or fewer units. The certification indicates the number of “legal” units in a residential property. Real estate sellers in the City can expect to pay an additional $30 for the certification that is required to sell most residential property within the City.
In 2007, congress passed the federal Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act, a law that allowed taxpayers to exclude “forgiven” debt after a shortsale, foreclosure, or loan modification to be excluded from a person’s “income”. That law is set to expire on December 31, 2012. Prior to the enactment of the law, any forgiven debt was considered “income” to a borrower and the borrower had to pay income tax despite not actually receiving actual “cash-in-hand” income. If Congress does not extend the law, a number of real property owners will face increased income taxes in the wake of transactions related to distressed properties. Many short sales currently in progress will be effected. Attorneys General from a majority of states have urged the congress to extend the law when they go back to work in December.
If you are a registered agent for an Illinois corporation, you may have received a notice in the mail from a company called “Corporate Records Service” offering to prepare annual minutes for a fee of $125. Because I am a registered agent for many of my clients’ companies, I have seen it. The paperwork they send looks “official”. Continue reading
I’ll say it again. Pre-approvals don’t mean a thing. I know it is hard to believe, but it’s true. I probably average one telephone call a month from a confused seller-client who wants to know why the buyer needs a mortgage contingency extension when “they were already pre-approved”. Continue reading
One estate planning topic sure to become more and more important as we advance in the digital age is the issue of what to do with a person’s digital assets. Our own Richard Magnone was interviewed about the topic for an article in the August 26, 2012 Chicago Tribune. Right now, it seems, the most important task for estate planners is making their clients aware of the issues related to digital assets. Few people feel the need to plan for digital assets but that does not mean that they should not do so. There are a variety of types of digital property – more than people might guess. A few years back, Rich did a series of blog articles on the topic that deserve a fresh look.
Cook County, Illinois residents will get a big surprise in their mailboxes around July 1. Just in time to celebrate the nation’s birthday, the Cook County Treasurer will come looking for the 2nd installment of 2011 real estate taxes (remember, property taxes are paid in arrears). This year will mark the first time in decades that the bills are not tardy. Most property owners will wonder why their bills are going up when the values of their homes are going down. Its easy to see why once you know the process used by the to calculate a tax bill. Continue reading
Without much advance fanfare, the State of Illinois has passed a law intended to close Illinois’ $2.7 billion dollar Medicaid funding gap. On June 14, 2012, Governor Quinn signed Public Act 97-689 into law. Among other things, the law amends the Illinois Public Aid Code to change Medicaid eligibility rules. The Chicago Sun Times printed a story criticizing the law for “cutting people off of medicaid”. The law changes medicaid eligibility rules for people who own real estate and suspended the use of “OBRA” pooled trusts (one form of special needs trust) for anyone over age 65 who is not a ward of the public guardian (OPG) or the state guardian (OSG).
Real estate MLS listings often proclaim “HAFA Approved Short-Sale” as a key selling point for a listed short sale property. HAFA is the “Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternative” program. Part of the program is a process for pre-approving a short sale (a short sale is when a bank with a mortgage releases the mortgage in return for less money than is owed on the loan secured by the real estate). In theory, HAFA approved short sales should be quicker and less complicated than a standard short sale because the home seller applies to the program in advance and is provided with an approval based upon the seller obtaining a contract to sell at a certain price. HAFA short sales benefit a seller because, among other things, the Seller can get some relocation funds from the sale and can avoid being pursued for any repayment deficiency. The trouble is that even if a property is HAFA approved, there may be other parties that have a hand in blocking the sale. Continue reading
An EIN is an “Employer ID Number” issued by the Internal Revenue Service. (Sometimes, this is referred to as a Federal Employer ID Number or “FEIN”) EINs are necessary for decedent’s probate estates, non-grantor trusts, corporations, and LLCs. Even single member limited liability companies, which are treated by the IRS as disregarded entities, can obtain an EIN. The EIN is basically the “social security number” of for entity.
Years ago, if someone wanted an EIN, that person would have to fill out a form ss-4 and mail or fax it in to the IRS and the IRS would mail back the number or, if the number was needed sooner, one could call the IRS and get the number over the phone. The most common and fast way to get an EIN these days is to apply online. Continue reading