Texas has been focused on reopening responsibly, and our efforts to increase testing capacity and contact tracing efforts have allowed our citizens to safely return to work.
Because of increased testing, we have seen an increase in positive cases – as to be expected. The great news is, even with increased testing, the positivity rate is down. This means that even though we are testing more people, the percentage of people testing positive is decreasing.
Source: Texas Department of State Health Services
In fact, the positivity rate has decreased 15% since Governor Abbott began reopening Texas, and it’s down 2/3 from its peak in April. Over the weekend, the positivity rate dropped below 5% for the first time since the beginning of April.
Just as important as positivity rates are COVID-19 hospitalization rates. In my home of Montgomery County, hospitalizations have shown a downward trend since May 1st.
Source: Montgomery County Public Health District.
In the state overall, hospitalizations have not spiked since the state reopened, and there are currently 17,000 available beds.
Plus, Texas has the lowest death rate per capita of the top ten U.S. states by case count.
Bottom line? While the mainstream media continues to manipulate the statistics and distort facts to misrepresent the situation in Texas, we’ve been able to open up our economy safely, without an increase in positive case percentage.
Exclusive Interview With Dr. Lawrence Yun, NAR Chief Economist
In the current climate, there is a lot of misinformation and uncertainty in the marketplace. In this episode, Brian welcomes back NAR Chief Economist Dr. Lawrence Yun to get an update on the ongoing effects of the Coronavirus on the economy and housing. Informed by the very latest data, this special podcast will give you clarity and perspective on today’s real estate landscape.
Tune in Tuesday, May 5 at 12:01 a.m. PDT on your favorite podcast app!
Congress passed an econnomic relief package on March 27, 2020 with overwhelming bipartisan support. As more guidance is released by the administraion on how these new progrmas will be implemented, updates will be provided.
Please watch for better, safer food practices
New orders are out for Harris County and other counties may be close behind. For now please see the attached document for review on how it affects property managment companites and service providers.
We are in a new normal and want to help you do business in the new climate. We will be changing our regular chapter meetings that meet at Camp Hope to webinars in May and July. Our ongoing topics will be extremely relevant as the climate continues to change in how we will be taking care of business. Our Bi-Monthly Webinar hosted by HAR will continue as scheduled. See the Events page for more details when announced. We have the following updates:
April HAR Webinar Speaker: Jason Waggoner, Acutraq
April NARPM Class – April 28 (Schedule expected to change)
May Regular Chapter Mtg – Conference Mtg Speaker: Amy Karnes, Broker/Owner. Topic: Property Management - Buying, Selling and Starting Over.
July Chapter Mtg – Conference Mtg Speaker: Marc Cunningham, Broker/owner. Topic: to be determined as the date gets closer
Our News page of the website is available to every member for help, information and support. Please log in often and look for updates, downloads and property management leader Q & A discussions.
We are listening and want to share as much knowledge and understanding as possible. As members, you have full access to the membership directory in Houston and at the National level. NARPM Pod cast is also addressing legislative changes and updates as the days turn in two weeks.
President Trump on Wednesday directed the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to suspend evictions and foreclosures through April as Americans grapple with the fallout of the coronavirus.
A must read for all property managers. As a NARPM Affiliate vendor, Petscreening is helping us make sense of HUDs ruling
Yesterday, HUD released the rental housing industry’s long anticipated updated Notice on assistance animals in housing accommodations.
PetScreening was notified directly by HUD’s Enforcement Office about the new Notice and commented that our service’s feedback played an important part in the development of the Notice. Our Pack truly appreciates the positive working relationship we have developed with HUD, and we believe this Notice is thoughtful and well-intended to all parties involved.
With the changes set forth in the Notice, we believe there has never been a better time to continue using our services. For example, in this Notice, HUD has now adopted ADA’s guidelines pertaining to service animals in housing accommodations. This details the appropriate two-question review process specific to service animals. The Notice also maintains the FHAct’s guidelines for support animals and its distinctly different two-question and third-party documentation review process. Housing providers will now need to navigate the difference between service animals and support animals which includes a different permissible review process for each each type of animal.
We have included access to our Chief Legal Counsel’s analysis of the HUD’s FHEO-2020-01 Notice. It’s noteworthy that this Notice is effective immediately. All of our existing clients will not experience any interruption in our service and need to do nothing more than continue focusing on their daily management business.
The PetScreening Pack
Make tax filing less stressful and potentially save money by starting early.
Tax season is upon us with tax forms arriving in inboxes and mailboxes. Tackling your 2019 tax return may be a dreaded chore (because of complexity or the prospect of owing additional tax) or a welcome event (because you are due a refund). Either way, getting started early may help make your tax-filing season less stressful and potentially save you some money.
Filing your tax return as soon as possible is one of the best ways to guard against tax-related identity theft. For the scheme to be successful, a criminal files a fraudulent return and collects a refund in your name before you file your return. If you file your legitimate return before a crook tries to file one for you, the fraudulent return is rejected.
If you haven't received the necessary tax documents from an employer, financial institution, charity, or some other source, be proactive and ask for them. On the other hand, if you owe a payment with your return and you need time to raise the money, you can file your return early and instruct the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to deduct the amount from your bank account or debit card, or charge your credit card, on a specified date—right up until the filing deadline. (The deadline is April 15, 2020, for your 2019 taxes.)
You have several options for potentially reducing your taxable income with a contribution to a tax-advantaged account up until the tax deadline. The sooner you make a contribution, however, the sooner you'll be able to invest your contribution and give that money the chance to grow tax-deferred.
One opportunity available to many taxpayers is a contribution to a traditional IRA. A contribution to a traditional IRA may reduce taxable income and, in turn, 2019 taxes for those eligible for the tax deduction.1 The tax-deductible contribution limit for the 2019 tax year is $6,000. For those who are age 50 and over, the limit is $7,000.
It isn't necessary to have a job to have a traditional IRA. A nonworking spouse, as long as their spouse has earned income, can contribute to a Roth or traditional IRA. The amount of a married couple's combined contributions can't be more than the earned compensation reported on their joint return.
Self-employed individuals and freelancers can open a Simplified Employee Pension plan—more commonly known as a SEP IRA—even if they also have a full-time job as an employee. Those who earn money freelancing or running a small business on the side could take advantage of the potential tax benefits from your side gig. With a SEP IRA, contributions may be tax-deductible, just like with a traditional IRA, but the SEP IRA has a much higher contribution limit. The contribution amount varies based on income. For 2019, the contribution limit is 25% of eligible compensation (or 20% of eligible compensation for the self-employed2) or $56,000, whichever is lower. The deadline for 2019 contributions is the tax deadline—April 15, 2020. If you file an extension, you'll have until October 15, 2020, to make the contribution for 2019.
Consider speaking with a tax advisor to determine the impact of SEP IRA contributions on the tax deductibility of contributions to a traditional IRA in the context of your personal situation.
Looking back at your 2018 tax return can give you a great head start on what you'll need in order to prepare your return for 2019. You can see which financial institutions should be sending you tax documents, which charities you might have contributed to, and which deductions you might again be eligible to claim.
Here's another benefit to taking time to review your 2018 return: If you spot an error, you can file an amended return and possibly get back some money you thought was long gone.
Got married? Had a child? Divorced? Retired? Bought a new home? All of these and many others can have a significant impact on your tax return. Consider the effects they might have on your tax liability and how you file your return. If you are unsure of the effects, consult a tax professional. Newly married couples, for example, are typically better off filing a joint tax return, but there are circumstances, such as one spouse owing back taxes or having large medical bills, when filing separately may make sense.
After reviewing last year's return and any significant life events from 2019, make a checklist of items you need to prepare before filing your return. By starting early, you'll give yourself time to compile all the information you need and to explore potential tax-saving deductions and strategies.
The last thing you want is to get to the bottom line and see an unexpected large balance owed to the IRS. If you wait until the last minute to prepare your taxes, you may not have time to raise the cash for the payment. Filing for an extension won't help. You still have to pay what you owe by the filing deadline or face a penalty and interest.
Last-minute surprises may become more common as larger numbers of Americans earn self-employment income from things such as driving for a ride-sharing service, renting out a room in their home, or performing consulting services. People engaged in these types of income-producing activities are typically required to pay estimated taxes each quarter (i.e., 4 times a year). If you're new to self-employment and failed to make quarterly payments, you'll probably need time to plan for any additional taxes due.
Tax preparation software is great at filling out forms and calculating your tax liability, but it doesn't always spot reporting errors in tax documents sent to you. Unless you catch them yourself, they could significantly impact your tax bill.
For example, suppose you received money from a lawsuit settlement or a sweepstakes prize and it was reported on a Form 1099-MISC. The amount should appear in Box 3, "Other income," but if the issuer mistakenly placed it in Box 7, "Nonemployee compensation," it would be considered self-employment income and subject to an additional 15.3% self-employment tax. Another example is Box 7 on Form 1099-R, which may contain a letter or number code as well as a check box for IRA, SEP, or SIMPLE distributions. The entries can make a difference in how you report the distribution and if it's taxed.
If you can't determine on your own what the proper entries should be on the forms you receive, you should consult a tax professional.
By starting your tax return now and giving yourself time to resolve questions and issues that might arise, you may find the process less anxiety-producing and may discover some opportunities to help lower your tax bill.
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