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16 hours ago

Home Improvement :: New Canadian Home Renovation Tax Credit

The Canadian government revealed on January 27th, 2009 a temporary Home Renovation Tax Credit. This renovation credit will apply to work done on houses, cottages and condominiums owned for personal use, and projects can range from finishing a basement to remodeling a kitchen, to painting, to laying new sod. This home renovation tax credit works as follows: Homeowners can get a 15% tax credit of up to $1,350 for renovations that exceed $1,000 up to a maximum of $10,000 worth of work or materials. The renovations must take place and be completed between January 27, 2009 and January 31, 2010 to be eligible for this credit.

Under this $3-billion program, you may choose to hire a contractor or to do the work yourself. However, contractors must be registered for the GST so you cannot hire friends or family members. The Canadian government estimates that over 4 million families will take advantage and benefit from this tax credit.

The Home Renovation Tax Credit was created to encourage Canadians to spend now to help create jobs in industries typically hurt by an economic downturn.

"These measures to support home construction and renovation will help stimulate our construction and building-supplies industries," Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty home improvement said in his speech.

The tax credit will apply to a variety of home improvements, such as renovating a kitchen, bathroom or basement, new carpet or hardwood floors, building an addition, deck, or fence, installing a new furnace, painting the inside or outside of a house, or laying new sod. Expenses such as building permits, professional services, and equipment rentals are also eligible.

The cost of purchasing furniture, appliances, electronics, or construction equipment do not apply. Routine repairs and maintenance will also not be eligible for the credit.

Remember that the Home Renovation Tax Credit can be used in conjunction with other government renovation programs. For example, if you plan on making your home more energy-efficient, you may qualify for grants of up to $5,000 under the ecoENERGY Retrofit Program. In addition to this $5,000 grant, you will still be able to claim these renovations under the Home Renovation Tax Credit. The same is true for eligible expenditures that are claimed under the Medical Expense Tax Credit.

Here are some tips if you plan on hiring a contractor to do the renovations for you. Please make sure that your contractor is licensed and ask them to show you their license. Ask for references. A good contractor will be happy to provide you with a list of references as well as pictures showing the type of work they have done in the past. Get more than one quote and get them in writing. The quotes should outline exactly what will be done and how long it will take. Just remember that the lowest quote may not be the best. This contractor may be cutting corners. Ask to see the contractor's certificate of insurance. A standard insurance would cover worker compensation and third-party liability for everyone on the job as well as damage they may cause. If the contractor does not have insurance, you may be held liable if case of an accident.

Happy 2009 renovations!

17 hours ago

Top Job Placement Firm Sued for Alleged Bias Against Blacks

A national job-placement firm discriminated against blacks in favor of Hispanic workers to comply with racially based criteria of companies seeking temporary workers in factories, on assembly lines or for other low-skilled positions, a federal class-action lawsuit filed Tuesday on behalf of several African-Americans alleges.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago, says that Personnel Staffing Group LLC and its clients used code words to distinguish races and to disguise racially guided decisions that could be deemed violations of federal civil rights law, including by referring more to blacks as "guapos," which means "pretty boys" in Spanish, and to Hispanics as "bilinguals."

The filing describes the temporary employment sector as one of the fastest growing in the country, saying there are more than 300 temp agencies with over 900 offices in Illinois alone.

Some companies that use temporary workers seek to get around anti-discrimination laws by relying on job-placement agencies, a Tuesday statement from lawyers and activists announcing the litigation contended. The practice was akin to companies asking agencies "to launder their overt discrimination," said Catherine Ruckelshaus, a general counsel for the National Employment Law Project.

Personnel Staffing Group LLC, which was incorporated in Florida and also goes by MVP and MVP Staffing, has more than 60 offices in nearly 40 states. The lawsuit cites instances of alleged bias by one of its branch offices in the Chicago suburb of Cicero. Multiple messages seeking comment from a head office of Personnel Staffing Group just outside Chicago were not returned.

The 33-page lawsuit was filed on behalf of five African-American laborers, and seeks class certification to cover potentially thousands of black people allegedly denied work based on race. It names Personnel Staffing Group and seven client firms, saying they bear joint responsibility "for the pattern or practice of excluding or severely restricting job assignments for African-American laborers."

Agency workers would be instructed through "thinly-veiled stereotypes," including references to street gangs or types of clothes, to convey the message that certain clients did not want African-Americans sent to job Check Out Your URL sites, the lawsuit said. Some firms who did not want blacks would allegedly return documentation on a specific black laborer after one day marked: "Do Not Return."

A sworn statement from one former agency employee filed along with the lawsuit said that Personnel Staffing Group managers would warn subordinates to not send African-Americans to clients who said they didn't want blacks "because MVP could lose the account if I did."

Another former agency employee alleged that superiors instructed staff to lie to black people that there was a "hiring freeze" at a company they inquired about. When some staffers complained and said that would be illegal, the manager responded "that this is what the customer wants, so it is on them, not us," the former employee alleged in her webpage statement.

Some companies, the suit said, claimed blacks were more likely to complain about low pay or work-safety issues and said those were reasons for preferring Hispanics. It also says that in instances where blacks got jobs, they were often offered less desirable work. The filing cited one example of African-Americans working in a hot oven room of a bakery, where some became overwhelmed by the heat and collapsed.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified monetary damages and a court order barring all the companies from the alleged racial screening.

3 days ago

Chelsea Manning attempted suicide second time in prison, attorney says | Reuters

U.S. Army soldier Chelsea Manning, who is serving 35 years in prison for passing classified files to WikiLeaks, attempted suicide last month for the second time, her attorney said on Friday.

Manning attempted suicide on Oct. 4, at the start of her stay in solitary confinement for attempting suicide the first time in July, said lawyer Chase Strangio, from the American Civil Liberties Union.

An Army spokeswoman declined to immediately comment.

Manning, 28, who is held at the Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, military prison, is a transgender Army private who was born male and revealed after being convicted of espionage that she identifies as a woman.

She tried to take her own life in July after what her lawyers said was the Army's denial of appropriate healthcare.

Strangio in a statement on Friday said authorities have refused to "adequately treat her gender dysphoria" and criticized the sentence of several days in solitary confinement that was imposed on Manning.

"She has repeatedly been punished for trying to survive and now is being repeatedly punished for trying to die," Strangio said.

She has been returned to the general population section of the prison, Strangio said.

Manning has legal aid been a focus of a worldwide debate on government secrecy since she provided custody battle more than 700,000 documents, videos, diplomatic cables and battlefield accounts to the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks.

Among the files Manning leaked in 2010 was a gunsight video of a U.S. Apache helicopter firing on suspected Iraqi insurgents in 2007, an attack that killed a dozen people, including two Reuters news staffers.

(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles; Editing by Mary Milliken)

2 weeks ago

Home Improvement :: Estimating Residential Construction Costs

In the business of residential construction there is a serious problem with projects being underestimated, resulting in little to no profits for the building companies. It can seem as though no matter how meticulously they work on accurate data collection, money seems to go like water through their hands. In such a highly competitive price related industry, it's vital for contractors to acquire expertise for creating accurate estimates. To be best understood, the process of producing a quote can be divided into two areas; typical residential costs and potential costs.

Firstly a contractor must calculate dumpster the costs for anything that comes under the heading of typical residential construction costs. The location and environmental costs are a large part of this, and contractors should always survey the residential block prior to

commencing. This will enable them to assess things like whether the land is wet or dry and any money that needs to be allocated for demolition and removal of debris.

A quotation for a residential building estimate should give accurate details about how much the construction will cost to build according to the plans supplied. This means data must be compiled to cover laying a foundation(concrete, footings, slabs, columns and associated machinery), heating or cooling systems for the home and framing and flooring(walls, roofs, floors & floor coverings, ceilings etc). The exteriors and interiors include any materials used to cover the inside and outside of the building such as bricks, paints and built in cupboards and cabinets. Windows are just as important when it comes to quoting accurately, and contractors can sometimes forget about the extra wood used for their installation along with other hardware.

Electricians and plumbers can be tricky when it comes to accurately forecasting the cost of their work. They are also working off estimations, so you need to have confidence in their ability to give accurate quotes include lighting fixtures and plumbing fixtures like toilets and showers. Appliances are presumed to be included in residential construction estimations, so quote for items like dishwashers and garbage disposals, and be willing to include any extra's the customer requests.

The area of other costs can be devised after the contractor has investigated all the typical costing data. Other possible costs to be included in the residential construction estimate can include preparation of the site, permit applications, demolition/debris removal or landscaping. Any changes requested after the plans have begun to be executed can be added if they have been approved by the appropriate executives.

It is impossible to get an absolutely accurate figure for the exact price of building a residential home. Every contractor is more than aware of the possible construction waste disposal variables that can interrupt the expected flow, and for this reason always include escalation, contingency reserve and market update allowance clauses in the quotations.

To enable residential construction estimates to be more accurate and less complicated, do the company and contractors a favor and buy some construction estimating software. Estimates will be immaculate, organized and scheduled in advance so plans go ahead without any problems, and they will look professional and impressive as well. Seriously save time and money and get in synch with the ebbs and flows of your business through live updated data for analysis on how projects are currently running and ways to improve for future ones.

2 weeks ago

I Was a Whole Foods Dumpster Diver


Credit: Jason Hoffman/Thrillist

Most people could never imagine themselves biting into a sandwich dug out of a dumpster, but the boundaries blur when you're talking about a sealed wedge of very expensive cheese. Things get even hazier when you factor in the most wholesome of establishments... Whole Foods.

It's old news now, but for the uninitiated, there's

3 weeks ago

The Latest: Family lawyer: Attorney appointment is good step


3 weeks ago

Child Custody Legal Blogs Posted by Attorneys


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If you are considering whether or not to divorce your spouse, you may be especially anxious about the effects that your divorce may have on your children and your relationship with your children. One ...

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Child Custody

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Child Custody


Joseph E. Marvin

Child custody is a serious legal issue across Minnesota and many other states. Often in divorces, child custody is one of the Full Article most important and litigated issues. Battles over child custody also his comment is here resul ...

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