The proposed overhaul on income taxes is said to simplify what everyone pays.  Corporations will pay 15% instead of 35%.  Individuals will pay 0%, 10%, 25%, or 35%. The estate tax and the alternative minimum tax are also said to be eliminated.  Stocks have been down and bonds have been up since the plan was published.  Though the specifics weren’t yet worked out, I am certain that the IRS will continue to collect just as much out of you and me.

Pending Home Sales report a 0.8% drop from last month, where a 5.6% increase was logged.  Durable Goods also dropped from a 1.2% advance to 0.7%.

Freddie Mac reports that the average 30 year loan is going for 1.03% right now.  As usual, I am cheaper than that. 

A Hodgepodge of Useless Information

Scotland has voted to remain part of the United Kingdom and will hash out their tax rate changes which take effect as early as 2015.    While doing a bit of research on the UK debacle, I ran across this bit o’ information about our taxes here in the U.S. that was of more interest to me personally.  The IRS claims that 47% of tax returns filed in 2012 reported adjusted gross income (AGI) of less than $30,000, while only 3.6% of tax returns reported AGI of at least $200,000. There are about 300 million households, but in 2012 only 145 million tax returns were filed.  Of those who filed, 64% of the returns paid federal income tax while 36% of the returns did not pay any federal income tax.  So if you paid any income taxes in 2012, you are included the 31% minority of the population which did so.  Thank you for keeping our government afloat (is that the right word?  BTW: This is not a cry for a vote of secession).
Interestingly enough the National Association of Realtors shows that 54% of all licensed agents earn less than $50,000 per year while 7% earn more than $200,000 per year.  Real estate agents are more polarized in their incomes than the national averages listed above.  Realtors earn an average of $39,140 per year and it’s the 89th best job to have in the country according to US News and World report (#1 is software developer).
How is that for a smattering of useless information? Here’s what you really want to know: Thirty year FHA loans are at 3.5% and Conventional loans are at 4.25%. Fifteen year rates are way lower at 3.0% (APR will be higher, depending on the loan and down payment amounts, and amortization term–as closing costs and the presence of mortgage insurance affect each loan differently.)

The Upper One Percent

I look at tax returns all day long, so it is interesting when the IRS publishes their data.  Albeit antiquated (the last composite disseminated is from 2011), this chart shows that the upper 1% earn more than double what the top 5% report to Uncle Sam, and over 10 times what the lower 50% earn in a year.

The National Home Builders is blaming severe weather conditions across the country for the drop in their Housing Market Index.  The reading dropped from 56 last month to 46 this month, where 50 represents the threshold between a positive and a negative market, and is based on a survey of home builders throughout the USA.

Storms in New England might also be the culprit for the decline in the Empire State Manufacturing Index dropping from 12.5 to 4.48 this month, though this survey is completed by 175 executives across a variety of sectors and looks six months into the future.