In this issue
tax return preparation and avoiding scams
It’s tax season! The deadline to complete your tax return is Monday, April 15. Since this only happens once a year, it might be helpful to review the documents you need, tips for working with a pro, and how to spot scams.
Have those ducks in a row
. Everyone’s situation is different and various documents may be needed to file a return based on individual circumstances. Here is a list of common documents required to file:
Choose a preparer wisely.
- Wage and earning statements from all employers
- Proof of identification
- Mortgage interest statements
- Student loan interest statements
- Childcare expense documentation
- Health coverage statements
For those who feel more comfortable working with a professional, it’s important to select a preparer you trust. Consider the following tips when choosing who will help you complete your tax return:
Don’t fall for scams.
- Be skeptical of offers to secure you a larger return than competing services can.
- Avoid services that base fees on a percentage of your refund.
- Make sure the preparer has a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) and that it’s on your return, along with their signature, and that the preparer provides a copy of your return.
- Ask about contact information and follow-up services should you have questions, or if an issue arises long after your return is filed.
- Never sign blank forms.
Identity and financial theft attempts are common during tax time. Don’t let scare tactics cause you to fall victim to one of these scams:
- Phone scams: Individuals pretending to be from the IRS or Colorado Department of Revenue have been known to make calls asking for personal or financial information, often alleging criminal activity and threatening punishment as a ploy. If you receive such a call, report it to the IRS.
- Email phishing: Similar to the phone scam, emails that appear to be from a trusted entity asking for information or directing the user to click on a link related to your tax return are known to pop up around this time. Such emails often contain links to computer viruses or other identity theft tactics. Again, report such emails or any similar scams to the IRS.
Visit IRS.gov for more information.
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annual home maintenance checklist
In addition to the usual spring maintenance to-do list that includes lawn care, landscaping clean up, gutter cleaning, and overall refreshing, consider checking off these other tasks to keep your home in shape. Preventative maintenance may be the key to avoiding sudden, costly repairs or emergencies.
*Sources: National Fire Protection Association and U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
**Source: Chimney Safety Institute of America
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*Replace smoke and carbon monoxide detectors/batteries. If your smoke detector and carbon monoxide detectors have replaceable batteries, replace them at least once a year. Dead batteries cause 24 percent of smoke alarm failures. Replace smoke detectors every 10 years, and carbon monoxide detectors every five to seven years. Also, use the test button regularly to ensure your detectors’ alarms are working.
Check fire extinguishers. Make sure your fire extinguishers have not expired. Also make sure they are easy to access and are free of damage or tampering.
Assess flooring needs. Whether you have hardwood floors, carpeting, tile, and/or other types, cleaning and caring for your floors may extend their life and performance. Consider if your carpets need a DIY steam clean or a professional service, if hardwoods need refinishing, and if tile needs repair or regrouting.
Look for water leaks and repair. Check all water sources in your home for leaks and your ceiling for signs of a roof leak. Mold, mildew, and rot can cause damage that is pricey to fix if left unaddressed. Also, replacing your roof can cost thousands of dollars but an inspection and leak fix can cost much less.
Maintain your HVAC system. Check your air filters monthly and replace as needed. Keep vents unblocked, and outdoor units free from dirt and debris. Also, consider investing in annual professional tune-ups to help prolong the life and efficiency of your system, prevent emergency repairs, and avoid unexpected, expensive replacements.
**Inspect your chimney/venting system. If you have a fireplace, have an inspection once a year and cleaning if needed. Even if you don’t use it much, or if you have a gas fireplace, an inspection is necessary to ensure proper and safe ventilation and major repair prevention.
CHFA: year in review
CHFA’s 2018 Community Report is now available and is full of information about CHFA’s recent accomplishments. Below are some of the highlights!
In 2018 CHFA:
Invested in Colorado homeownership: 8,355 customers served with home mortgage or refinance loans or mortgage credit certificates
“I have been enjoying being a homeowner. It’s a great investment and there’s nothing better than having your own home when you have a family."
-David, CHFA homeowner in Greeley
Helped Coloradans rent affordably: 5,136 affordable rental housing units supported with multifamily loans and/or Low Income Housing Tax Credits
“Oh my gosh, every day I feel blessed to live here. I love that we have parking and it’s built well. I just really love the place.”
-Cecelia, resident of Ash Street Apartments, an affordable rental housing development supported by CHFA in Denver
Strengthened Colorado economies: 4,287 jobs impacted by CHFA’s business finance programs
“The loan from CHFA enabled us to purchase our office space and be in control of our own destiny. This has helped us become more successful and serve more clients.”
-Angela Strode, Co-founder of Hays and Strode Law, P.C., a CHFA business finance customer in Rifle
To access the complete 2018 Community Report,
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in the community: find volunteer opportunities
Have you been thinking about getting involved in your community but aren’t sure where to start? Perhaps you’re not sure what kind of volunteer work you want to do, or what options are available. Or maybe you know you want to help animals, children, the homeless, or other causes but haven’t found the right organization to connect with. Or maybe you’ve been an active volunteer but are looking for something different. Here are some tips to help you help others:
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Determine your level of commitment. Would it be a day or a few hours each month, or every other? A summer project? Or holiday related? Determining your availability and the amount of time you’re willing to fit into your schedule will help you find the right fit and stick to your goal.
Talk with friends and family. Those you’re close with can give you first-hand testimonials on their volunteer experiences. Plus, they may share your interests and might be able to recommend a group or nonprofit that is specific to a cause near and dear to you.
volunteermatch.org. This website is dedicated to connecting volunteers with opportunities that match up with their interests, in their area. You can browse options, sign up for email alerts, and register with nonprofits.
Check with your city or county. Municipalities are often seeking members of the community to serve on boards or committees that help carry out local programs or make recommendations to elected officials. Applications and selection criteria are usually found online.
heads up, helpful resource, dates to remember, we're going digital
property tax statements
Property taxes assessed in 2018 are billed and payable in 2019. You may have already received a notice from your local county assessor’s office regarding your 2019 property tax bill. Please note that this statement is for your records only. Your real estate property taxes are paid through an escrow account established on your behalf by CHFA Loan Servicing. If you have questions about your tax statement, please contact your local county directly.
hoa information and resource center
The Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies hosts an online HOA Information and Resource Center. Here you can find helpful information as an HOA member, take a satisfaction survey, sign up to receive timely consumer information, and more. Visit www.colorado.gov/pacific/dora/hoa-information-and-resource-center.
dates to remember:
First of the month: CHFA mortgage payments are due by the first of each month and late fees may be assessed if a payment is received after the 16th of the month. Save a stamp and sign up for electronic (ACH) payments. Visit chfainfo.com/payment-options.
we’re going digital!
This newsletter will convert to an eNews in 2019. If you’d like to sign up to receive the digital version of CHFA Homeowner via email once available, please visit: http://bit.ly/2mbmXAo
. Please note, once the digital version is available, you’ll no longer receive CHFA Homeowner in the mail.
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With respect to its programs, services, activities, and employment practices, Colorado Housing and Finance Authority does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, disability, or any other protected classification under federal, state, or local law. Requests for reasonable accommodation, the provision of auxiliary aids, or any complaints alleging violation of this nondiscrimination policy should be directed to the Nondiscrimination Coordinator, 303.297.7471, TDD/TTY 800.659.2656, CHFA, 1981 Blake Street, Denver, Colorado 80202-1272, available weekdays 8:00am to 5:00pm MT.