Friday, June 19, 2015

Top Tips on applying to study abroad in the UK

As we approach application time again, our Enrolment Services team have let us in on their top tips when applying to study abroad in the UK.

Here’s their advice to help kick-start your higher education dream

1. Do your research and plan ahead.

Before you apply, make sure you have all the information required when making that all-important decision for studying aboard. What do I need to pack? What are the visa requirements? Can I bring my cat?

2. Location, Location, Location…

When researching ask yourself – where is it? Are you after the quiet surroundings of the countryside or the fast-pace lifestyle of a city? Have a think about the social aspect too. Do you want to live in an area where you’ll meet people from the same cultural background or a completely different mix?
3. Match your current educational level with the course you wish to apply for.

Get a good understanding of the courses available for you. Will any of the courses match your ideal career path? What other skills and experiences might you need in order to be accepted to study abroad? With a huge range of courses available for you to study, make sure you match the ideal course against your education level.

4. Know the visa requirements and apply early.

Yikes! Don’t forget to apply for your visas in good time and understand the key requirements in order to apply. This can be a scary process, but don’t worry; we are at hand to guide you through the process. We can offer a practice visa credibility interview via Skype, to build-up your confidence when the real deal happens.
5. Did you pass your IELTS tests?

The IELTS tests (International English Language Test System), is a key requirement when applying for your UK visa. You must ensure that you have completed and passed your IELTS tests at an approved test centre to study in the UK.

6. Don’t leave it until the last minute.

Right, decision made, you want to study abroad. Yippee, time to apply! Make sure you allow yourself enough time to submit your application to avoid any disappointment; and always ask for help when you are not sure.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Is Donating Your Car Worth the Tax Deduction? Where to Donate a Car for a Tax Deduction?

Whether they’re on the Internet, the radio, or TV, there are a lot of tax tips floating around. Not surprisingly, many of them aren’t worth following.

Many people accept tax advice from all the wrong places rather than spending the money to hire a professional. This is a prescription for disaster—listening to bad advice could cost you big bucks in the end, particularly when you are donating your car.

Common tax advice that isn’t always worth following when donating a car

You’ve probably heard commercials on the radio or seen them on television telling you that you can donate your car to charity for a tax deduction. Some even offer you cash and a trip in addition to the deduction.

If you donate your car to a charity that offers these perks, however, you’ll be required to deduct the retail value of the trip—even if you don’t use it—and the amount of money you receive. Once you take these into account, along with any repairs that need to be made to the car, you may find the deduction is worth almost nothing.

In other words, donating a car sounds like a good idea, but for many people it’s simply not worth it. You may be better off trying another alternative.

Where to Donate a Car for a Tax Deduction?

Where to Donate
Many charities -- some with names known around the world -- use the internet to solicit the donation of your old car to fund their work for children, animals, the arts, medicine and military veterans. Charities include UNICEF, Toys for Tots, the Salvation Army, Habitat for Humanity and the Veterans of Foreign Wars. If you prefer to keep your donation dollars closer to home, some websites list local and regional charities by state.

Strict IRS Rules
If your car is truely a clunker and barely worth the metal that makes up the frame, you won’t have to jump through so many IRS hoops. On a car valued up to $500, all you need to document your donation is your receipt from the charity and IRS Form 8283. The form should include a description of the vehicle, including the make, model, condition and mileage. If your car is worth more than $500, you must also attach Form 1098-C to your tax return. If your car’s value exceeds $5,000, the IRS requires you to get an

Determining Your Car's Value
Most charities will sell your vehicle to turn your donation into cash. Your deduction is determined by sales price, not car valuation guides. IRS rules require that the charity provide you with the price it gets within 30 days of the sale. In a few cases, you're allowed to use car valuation guides, but even in these cases, you must use fair market value, not the highest value listed. For example, use fair market value -- not sales price -- when the charity keeps your car for its use, the charity makes repairs to the car before selling it or the charity sells your car at a discount to a low-income person.
The Mechanics of Donation
Most charities will make your donation easy by handling routine paperwork for the Department of Motor Vehicles and any required emissions tests. Some offer free vehicle pickup, whether it's running or not. If you can drive the car to the charity, it saves the organization the cost of pickup or a tow. Always transfer title to the charity. Assignment of ownership can be completed on the back of the title. Sometimes a charity asks you to leave the owner’s name blank so it can fill in the name when it sells the car. Don’t do it, as this leaves you legally responsible for the car.

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