Friday, March 20, 2009

What you'll get from the stimulus package

Posted by YiLin Zhu
By Janice Revell on Mar. 16 2009

The numbers for the economic stimulus package and housing plan are massive - over $1 trillion combined. But what will end up in your wallet? Here are three ways you could benefit directly.
1. A lower mortgage rate
It used to be all but impossible to refinance if your equity stake was less than 20% of your home's current value. Now you may be eligible for a refi even if you owe as much as 105% of what the house is worth. To qualify, you must have a loan balance of no more than $417,000 (unless you live in a high-cost area).

2. An insurance safety net
Normally if you lose your job, you'll have to foot the bill to keep your former employer's health insurance coverage. Now the government will pay as much as 65% of the monthly premium for up to nine months for most people who have lost a job since Sept. 1, 2008 (the break phases out for couples who earn more than $250,000).

3. An incentive for new wheels
If you buy a new car, SUV, or motorcycle in 2009, you may be able to deduct the state and local sales and excise taxes you pay (couples with an adjusted gross income under $260,000 are eligible). State sales taxes average about 6%, so on a $30,000 car you could write off $1,800, plus any county or local sales taxes.

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