North Rockford Middle School’s Fine Arts Magnet has completed auditions for this year’s production of Sleeping Beauty. The students have elected to add an 80’s theme to the play, which made auditions all the more interesting. Auditioning students presented themselves with enthusiastic 80’s catch phrases, stone washed jeans, concert t’s and bright neon colors for the royal family. Starring in the play this year is AnnMarie Albach as Beauty, Elisabeth “Betsy” Hoekstra as Evilina, Brad Sanders as King Rudolf, Ethan Dunnum as The Prime Minister, Bailiegh Aldrich as Queen Eleanor, Lauren Butzer as Quill, Derek Haines as Prince Rupert, and Nolan Kosheba as Prince Alexander. The play begins Tuesday, March 23. A sneak peek of the show can be viewed by the public at North Rockford’s Fine Arts Night, Thursday, March 18 beginning at 6:30 p.m.
Words on tax refunds The tax season is well under way. As is usually the case, each tax season takes on a flavor of its’ own. Some tax seasons are known as early filing tax seasons. Everyone’s refund seems to be large and they want it today. We find that some seasons have so many changes that affect their tax returns; it seems that people put off filing their returns and the season becomes known as a late filing season. Neither of those scenarios applies to this year. Allow me to make an observation about this year. Even though it was projected that refunds would be smaller or non-existent this year; so far that doesn’t seem to be totally the case. Some taxpayers are getting smaller refunds than they expected but others are being pleasantly surprised by the size of their refunds. It’s been an orderly tax season with the Internal Revenue Service and the State of Michigan efficiently processing the returns as they are submitted. No big technical snafus have taken place. As always, there are one or two legislative changes put into place that effect many returns. This year, we are seeing many taxpayers taking advantage of the return of the Residential Energy Credit and the upgrade of the Hope Education Tuition Tax Credit (HOTC) to the new American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC). Much has been written about the Residential Energy Credit but I have not read much about the American Opportunity Tax Credit. It’s really a misnomer to say the AOTC upgraded the HETC. It totally replaced the credit. Since so many taxpayers claim the tuition tax credit on their returns, I’m going to hit the high points and the differences between this year and the past years. First, the Hope Credit resulted in a maximum of $1,800 credit, none of which was refundable. The American Opportunity Tax Credit can result in a maximum credit of $2,500. 40 percent of the credit, up to $1,000 is refundable. This is a huge change. Many taxpayers paying tuition in past years zeroed out their tax liability without using the full $1,800 of credit. Now, they will at least get 40 percent as a refundable amount. Second, the HOTC credit was based only on […]