Thursday, March 1, 2018

FAFSA is open!

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is available for the 2018-2019 school year.  Procrastinating can cost you.  Illinois awards financial aid on a first-come first-served basis.

Completing the FAFSA on the web is the application methods that provides the quickest results.  Poplar Creek Public Library main and branch libraries have the worksheet available to assist in gathering information necessary to fill in the form.  First obtain an FSA ID from the U.S. Department of Education.  If you and/or your parent already applied for financial aid in a prior academic year, the same FSA ID will be used to complete this year too.

Even if you think you will not qualify for federal grants, most states and many colleges also use the form to award grants and scholarships.  And it's required to take out any federal student loans, which are cheaper and safer than private market loans.

If you have any questions regarding the financial aid application process, contact an ISAC (Illinois Student Assistance Commission) Call Center Representative by calling 800-899-ISAC (4722). English and Spanish-speaking counselors are available Monday through Friday 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

Are you looking ahead to the next tax year?  Most taxpayers will be impacted by tax reform legislation PL 115-97.  Most changes take effect January 1, 2018.  Tax returns filed during the spring of 2018 (for the tax year 2017) are not included.  However, knowing about these changes now will help you prepare/plan for the your 2018 return.

Check the Internal Revenue news post at IRS Newsroom to check the 2018 withholding tables.

Most tax filers will pay using a new tax bracket. 
Pre-TCJA rates:
10%, 15%, 25%, 28%, 33%, 35%, and 39.6%
Rates under TCJA:
10%, 12%, 22%, 24%, 32%, 35%, 37%

In 2017, taxpayers claimed a personal exemption for themselves, their spouses and each qualifying child/relative if applicable.  Each exemption reduced tax liability. Under the new law, personal and dependent exemptions are eliminated from 2018 through 2025.

Through 2025, the maximum child tax credit changes from $1,000 to $2,000 per qualifying child.
Also, there is a new $500 nonrefundable credit for dependents who do not qualify for the child tax credit (over 17 years old).

Standard deductions associated with filing status will increase in 2018 through 2025:
$12,000 for single
$18,000 for head of household
$24,000 for married filing joining

Some deductions claimed on Schedule A "itemized deductions" have been eliminated, limited or modified.

The penalty for failure to obtain health care coverage will be eliminated beginning in 2019. Taxpayers who did not have coverage in 2017 or in 2018 will owe a penalty for those years unless they qualify for an exemption.

Because of all the changes, taxpayers should read up on the new legislation and/or consult their tax professional for next steps.

Paulette Harding
Reference Services Department

Monday, February 5, 2018

Voter Registration for the March 20, 2018 General Primary Election

The last day to register to vote through a deputy registrar is Tuesday, February 20, 2018.  Please contact the Library to check that a deputy registrar is available to assist you.  Two pieces of identification will be needed to register. Sample of IDs

On February 21, 2018, "grace period" registration is open for Cook County residents.  Our closest registration location is the Streamwood Village Hall at 301 East Irving Park Road, Streamwood, IL, 60107.  Bring two pieces of identification to register and then you must be ready to vote at that time.  Grace Period registration and voting continues from February 21, 2018 to March 19, 2018.

Paulette Harding
Reference Services Department

Friday, February 2, 2018

Medicare 2018

The Social Security Administration unveiled its cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for 2018. Retirees who want to know how COLA will effect their benefits should check their statement or go online.

For more information on the upcoming changes, take a look at some of these publications.

Medicare & You 2018
US Department of Health & Human Resources

How Social Security Will Change in 2018 
Mary C. Hickey

Medicare Announced its Premiums for 2018. Here's what you need to know.
Philip Moeller

What's New for Medicare in 2018?
Deena Bunis

5 Medicare Changes for 2018
Dan Caplinger

Paulette H.
Reference Services Manager

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Library of Congress Magazine

Title: Library of Congress Magazine
LCM September/October 2017
SUDOC call number: LC 1.18:2017/5

Comic Issue!  Read The Greatest Comic Book Villan? by John Sayers as he discusses the 1950's comics audience specifically for children. Or, check out the article on Presidents, Rock Stars & Other Heroes by Wendi Maloney as she discusses real people (like President Obama) in comics. Mark Harsell has an interesting article on the American Way: How Comic Books Reflect Our Culture showcasing the vast collection in the Library of Congress.

Paulette Harding
Reference Services Librarian

Friday, December 29, 2017

UFOs: Fact or Fiction

In 1947, a rash of sightings of unexplained flying objects (UFOs) swept America. Although the newly formed U.S. Air Force was the primary investigator of these sightings, the FBI received many reports and worked for a time with the Air Force to investigate these matters. The library has many materials on UFO sightings. Here are just a few:

UFO/government documents. (1990)

Kris Kenney
Deputy Director of Public Services