CAUGHTCHA BEING GOOD!
Matt Wolgamott was Caught being GOOD on Good Friday afternoon. A couple of his neighbors were out and about and unfortunately got their SUV stuck in a very snow covered ditch. After a few unsuccessful attempts to get loose, their neighbor Matt came to their rescue by using the winch on his off-road truck to pull out the lodged vehicle from the ditch, and he had fun while doing so! Congratulations, Matt.
Super Recycling Day donations break all records
The annual Green ER Super Recycling Day and Hazardous Waste Day proved to be a tremendous success last Saturday. Despite the chilly weather 255 cars, trucks, trailers of recyclable materials were delivered to the Recycling Center on Bridge St. next to the police station. “It was the biggest collection ever,” noted Andy Gale, owner of Bay Area Recycling Charities, which sponsored the event along with the Village of Elk Rapids. Charles Engler of Chef Charles Pizza donated pizzas for the hardworking crew and the community donated $460 toward Green ER throughout day. Special thanks to Chuch and Jacquie Thiel, Greg Reisig and Kathie Carpenter for a full day’s work that broke all previous records. Green Elk Rapids is a community-based organization in northern Michigan that aims to spread awareness of all things “green.”
Community Hike and Beach Walk
Please join Green Elk Rapids and Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy for an easy Friday hike, May 20, 5:30-6:30 p.m. Meet at Maple Bay Farm, Route 31, 3 miles south of Elk Rapids and park at the farmhouse area. Hear about the sugar maple project, native plants and birds, and updates on Conservancy activities. Bring the kids and grandkids, mosquito repellent, water bottles, and wear comfortable shoes. All the community is invited to participate in this stimulating and informative event. Details: www.greenelkrapids.org; Questions: 231-264-0618.
Funding Medical Expenses Part I HEALTH SAVINGS ACCOUNTS (HSA)
There are several plans available to pay medical expenses. The next several articles will explain four plans: health savings accounts (HSA), medical savings accounts (MSA), health flexible spending arrangements (FSA), and health reimbursement arrangements (HRA).
An HSA is a tax-exempt account set up with a qualified trustee, such as a bank or insurance company, to pay or reimburse certain medical expenses you incur. No approval is required from the IRS to set up an account. You must be an eligible individual to qualify for a tax-exempt HSA. Each spouse who is an eligible individual who wants an HSA must open a separate HSA account. You cannot have a joint HSA. To be an eligible individual you must meet the following requirements:
You must be covered under a high deductible health plan (HDHP) on the first day of the month.
You have no other health coverage except what is permitted.
You are not enrolled in Medicare.
You cannot be claimed as a dependent on someone else’s tax return.
A high deductible health plan (HDHP) has a higher annual deductible than typical health plans (minimum $1,300 for self-only coverage and $2,600 for family coverage) and a maximum limit on the annual deductible and out-of-pocket medical expenses that you must pay for covered expenses ($6,550 for self-only coverage and $13,100 for family coverage). Out-of-pocket expenses include copayments but do not include premiums. An HDHP may provide preventive care benefits without a deductible.
You (and your spouse, if you have family coverage) generally cannot have any other health coverage that is not an HDHP. However, you can still be an eligible individual even if your spouse has non-HDHP coverage provided you are not covered by that plan. You can also have coverage for areas such as worker’s compensation, disability, dental care, vision care, and long-term care, to name a few.
An HSA may receive contributions from an eligible individual or any other person, including an employer or a family member, on behalf of an eligible individual. Contributions, other than employer paid contributions, are deductible on the eligible individual’s tax return whether or not the individual itemizes. You may contribute only cash to the HSA through either a pre-tax or after-tax deduction. Contributions made by your employer are deducted from your gross income, up to the annual limit (adjusted each year). For 2016, you may contribute up to $3,350 (if covered under a self-only HDHP) or $6,750 (if covered under a family HDHP). If either spouse of a married couple has family coverage, both are considered to have family coverage, and the couple may contribute up to $6,750 total into their respective accounts, divided in any ratio they choose. Individuals age 55 or older may each contribute an additional $1,000 into their own account. You must reduce the amount you, or any other person, can contribute to your HSA by the amount of any contributions made by your employer that are excludable from your income. Beginning with the first month you are enrolled in Medicare, your contribution limit is zero. You may continue contributing to your HSA until the income tax return filing deadline (April 15 for the prior year). Interest or other earnings on the funds in the HSA are tax-free, and the account is portable, so if you change employers or leave the work force, it will stay with you.
In general, if you are eligible to contribute for only part of the year, the maximum contribution limit is adjusted accordingly. In 2006 a new rule was implemented, allowing you to determine your eligibility for the whole year based on your status on the first day of the last month of your tax year (December 1 for most taxpayers). If you were eligible on December 1, 2015, you will be considered eligible for the entire year, and may contribute the full amount for 2015. You must maintain your coverage for a testing period following the end of the tax year. The testing period is defined as the last month of the year you became eligible, until the last day of the 12th month following that year. In this example, that would be the period December 1, 2015 through December 31, 2016. If you do not remain eligible throughout this entire period, your contribution limit is reduced and the excess is taxable and subject to a 10% penalty. The income and penalty are calculated on Form 8889, Part III.
If you contribute to your HSA in excess of the annual limit, the excess is not deductible from your income. Excess contributions from your employer must be included in your gross income. In addition, there is a 6% excise tax on these contributions, applied each tax year the contribution remains in the account.
Distributions from an HSA are tax-deductible as long as they are used for qualified medical expenses for the account holder, their spouse, their dependents, or anyone they could have claimed as a dependent, whether they did or not. Qualified medical expenses are those expenses that would generally qualify for the medical and dental expenses deduction on your income tax return (at WWW.IRS.GOV search Pub 502). If the distribution is not used for qualified medical expenses, it must be claimed as income, and is subject to tax, plus a 20% penalty. The penalty does not apply to distributions made after the date the account holder either becomes disabled, reaches age 65, or dies.
Although contributions into the account must stop after age 65, there is no limit on how long funds can remain in the account, accumulating tax-free interest. You may leave the unused contributed money in the account until your death. If your spouse is the designated beneficiary of the account, it will be treated as your spouse’s HSA after your death; otherwise, the account stops being an HSA and its fair market value becomes taxable to the beneficiary in the year of your death.
Next week’s article will review Medical Savings Accounts (MSA).
– Submitted by Char Kirchner, CPA, MSA, Williamsburg
Elk Rapids District Library Corner
Beginning Knitting on the Porch – Thursday, May 26, 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. Barbara Sorensen will join us on the porch to lead a beginner’s knitting class. Drop in with your yarn and needles, grab a rocking chair, and knit your cares away!
Preschool Story Time – Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m. The last Story Time of the year will be held on June 1, and it will be on the porch. Be sure to join us!
Photography with Babs Young – Monday, May 23, 6:00 p.m. at the Library. Everyone had so much fun learning to capture the best shots with their camera or smart phone, Babs graciously agreed to do it again. Join the group as they wander outside shooting photos! The class is free, but please call to reserve your spot.
Robotics, Legos, and Reading! Sundays, 1:00 - 3:00 p.m. Need a place to design, practice and collaborate with your Robotics team? We’ve got you covered! Our meeting room will be open for you and your team to develop your skills in Robotics. We also have numerous tubs of Legos to work with. Then be sure to check out a book before you leave!
Adult/Teen Coloring, Coffee, & Conversation – Mondays, 6:00-7:30 pm. Coloring is not just for kids! Bring your coloring books and colored pencils to the serenity of our porch to enjoy a complimentary cup of coffee and conversation while we color and relax. Just drop in!
Technology Users Group – Thursdays from 3:00 – 4:00 on the porch. Drop in to learn the latest and most used apps and share your knowledge with other users. NEW! If you have a quick tech support question email Chris at email@example.com. If she can’t answer your question quickly she can set up an appointment for more help.
Did you know?
Village Market Community Cash will end for the season on Tuesday, May 31. Kurt needs all of your current VM receipts turned in by Sunday, June 26. We appreciate everyone who donates their receipts to the Library, and we especially appreciate the Village Market for supporting the community in so many ways!
Do you love the library? Like us too! Receive updates and information about future programs on Facebook. See you at the Library!
New Walk of Art Sculptures honor Veliquette and Heers
New sculptures being installed this month in the Walk of Art pay homage to Michiganders who died last year, leaving behind significant contributions to their state and community. The Walk of Art is located in Antrim County’s Elk Rapids Day Park on South Bayshore Drive.
One of the new works, “Garden Piece,” was created especially for the Walk of Art by one of the honorees, the late Wendel Heers. The beloved professor emeritus and interim dean of the University of Michigan art school died last August. His sculpture is installed alongside a companion piece, titled “For Wendel,” by Heers’s long-time collaborator and friend, metal sculptor Scott Lankton.
Heers, whose works are found throughout Michigan, the U.S. and Europe, loved expressing his own humor and playfulness, worked primarily in “found” materials – stone, wood, metal. He was especially fond of rocks, for their beauty and timelessness, and rocks figure prominently in his work. “Garden Piece” is just such a sculpture. Heers was inspired to create it upon learning about the Elk Rapids sculpture park. As the 2015 season was already under way when he completed it, installation had to wait until this spring. Sad to say, Heers didn’t live to install it himself.
“Garden Piece” sits alongside Lankton’s memorial “For Wendel,” which echoes ideas evident in Heers’s work. Lankton, a long-time friend and neighbor of Heers in Ann Arbor, now lives and works in Cedar.
The third commemorative sculpture, “I Love Michigan Cherries,” honors the life and work of Elk Rapids orchardist and community leader Gene Veliquette, who died in June 2015. The interesting, architectural sculpture was created by Joe Lueck of Great Lakes Stainless Inc., and is owned by Shoreline Fruit, Cherry Ke, and Cherry Bay Orchards.
The lives and contributions of Veliquette and Heers will be commemorated July 28 at the annual Art Rapids! Concert in the Park.
Thank you, Marcia!
The community came out on Friday night to thank Marcia Price for her years of service to the Village of Elk Rapids. Marcia, the former village manager, plans on spending some much deserved time relaxing with family and friends. Congratulations, Marcia on your retirement!
VILLAGE OF ELK RAPIDS