Online Tax Preparation – Preparing Tax Returns

Preparation of tax returns should be done very cautiously, because the tax payer is responsible for each and every word written on the tax return even though it is prepared by a professional. The preparer should be able to provide you with practical and convenient tips for tax saving.

You can find an efficient tax preparer online only if you put genuine efforts in searching for one.

Check while hiring tax preparer online

There are certain things that one should follow when hiring an individual or a firm for online tax preparation:

  • Legally speaking, the professional preparer should sign the returns form in the preparer areas. He/she should furnish the identification number on the return. He or she should give a copy of the return to the tax payer.
  • The preparer should be very accurate with filling in your details. Your personal information along with your registration number should be mentioned accurately.
  • The tax preparer should be efficient in online accounting.
  • Do not sign on blank tax returns form ever and do not use a pencil for signing as the signature can be easily erased and your signature replaced.
  • You should present any notices and refund checks that you might have got from your attorney to the tax preparer for preparing the returns.
  • Online bookkeeping is something that your tax preparer should be efficient in.
  • The tax preparer should be adequately qualified and experienced for his/her job, because each and every word he or she writes in the return from is evaluated by the tax collection authorities, and there is every opportunity of the tax payer being penalized for terms that are vague or seem to be unreliable.

Online Tax Preparation Process

Tax preparation should be done with a lot of caution as each and every word mentioned in the tax returns form is the responsibility of the tax payer, even though it might be prepared by another person, a professional or a firm. The tax preparer should be well versed in his/her work. He/She should be adequately qualified and experienced to prepare the tax returns statement. He/She should fill out the form with clear and reliable statements and should sign the tax returns form wherever applicable.

He/She should fill in the areas on the tax return form where the preparer’s information is required. Details like identification number should be clearly furnished on the form and should be signed. The person should not leave any blank areas. The details of the tax payer presented on the returns form should be accurate. It is mandatory for furnishing the registration number of the tax payer. The tax preparer should be able to provide easy-to-implement tax saving tips, and he/she should be adept at online bookkeeping and accounting. Any notices and refund checks, if obtained from an attorney, should be furnished to the tax preparer. On the whole, preparation of tax return statements should be done in a very careful manner as mistakes might cost the tax payer a lot.

Understanding Best Payday Loans to Make Them a Rule Rather than an Exception

Any loan resulting in a release of cash during times of immediate financial crises would be termed as best payday loan. It is only after the purpose for which the loan was taken gets satisfied that we start thinking critically of the loan. It will be wrong to term this tendency as selfishness. Payday loans are actually made dearer by loan providers. Many borrowers actually decide to take loans at any terms stated by the lenders because of the urgency involved in the situation. Lenders will not miss to profit of this opportunity. Thus, we find best payday loans costing dearly to its borrowers. High rates of interest and large fees are often appended to the payday loan, thus increasing the cost of the payday loan.

However, this was not what you had expected of the best payday loan. High interest rates were expected, but not of the extent that adorns your payday loan now. Neither had you expected that the lender would charge as high a fees. It is when the payday loan comes over for repayment that the expensiveness of the loan comes into view.

Though it may be too late to think of this now, this serves as a lesson for the next time that you plan to take a payday loan again. Proper planning ensures that the payday loan can be conveniently termed as a best payday loan.

Firstly, borrowers need to understand that payday loans differ from the other regular loans in terms of the purpose to which they are employed. The needs to which the payday loan is employed are characterized with urgency. These are generally routine monthly expenses, requiring only a small amount towards their disbursal. Thus, regular loans, where large amounts are exchanged, may not be appropriate. Moreover, regular loans that take several weeks to be approved and sanctioned may not be appropriate for these expenses because of the urgency involved.

Individuals, who may have ended their monthly paycheque before the next paycheque becomes due, find themselves hapless in making any extra payments.Best payday loans provide access to funds at a very short notice. Through payday loans, borrowers can draw funds in the range of £80 to £400. Depending on the needs of the borrowers and the lending policy adhered to by the lender, the borrowable amount may further go upwards. These funds will be used by borrowers to expend with ease.

Payday loans are short-term loans. The amount has to be returned with the interest within a month; sometimes within weeks. Lenders may employ different methods to get back the money. The most popular of these is the post-dated cheque system. The cheque is dated for presentation on the desired date. On the specific date, the amount is automatically cut from the borrowers account. For this purpose, some loan providers would require the borrower to have a checking account.

The post-dated cheque may also serve as collateral. In this sense, Best payday loans may also be regarded as secured loans. Borrowers, who desire to have best payday loans without the clause of collateral, will have to further search the UK financial market. The concept of unsecured payday loans is fast catching up with lenders in the UK, and it may not be much difficult to have best payday loans without collateral.

There are certain essentials that the borrower needs to have in order to become eligible for best payday loans. The borrower needs to be employed with a regular income that is transferred directly into his bank account. The borrower must have a chequebook and a checking account as mentioned before.

An important advantage of best payday loans is that credit history will not be checked. Borrowers with bad credit history will specially find the clause beneficial. Many loan providers may not even require borrowers to present their social security number.

Online application and online processing suit best payday loans. Best payday loans need to be approved fast in order to meet the immediate needs. Online applications transfer personal and loan details quickly to the loan providers. Thus, online application contributes towards a faster approval of best payday loans.

Though best payday loans present a convenient method of drawing cash during emergencies, they must not be misused. Expert advice ensures that borrowers have enough knowledge to make a proper use of payday loans.

Get the Money You Need to Invest Through soft Money Lenders

Investing in commercial real estate, like any investment, is an assessment of risks and potential rewards. Like any commercial venture, there are always risks, and there are tools in place to help you reach those rewards, often for incremental increases in risk.

One of the easiest tools to use (and misuse) in commercial real estate development is debt and credit. We’re going to characterize the money you get from lending as “soft money”, money you pay to have access to, as opposed to hard money, where you’re taking an outside investor on to your property.

Fundamentally, paying interest in money is paying someone else for the privilege of using their funds to make your projects work out. Interest rates are driven by the Prime Lending Rate, which you’ve no doubt heard news stories about. The prime lending rate is the rate that banks charge other banks for loans, and is generally set by the Federal Reserve. All other interest rates made in a given quarter have their rate set as the prime late plus a small addition to the rate (or, in some cases, a large addition.)

To determine what sort of money you’re going to want, understand that the banks are in the business of lending money – and getting paid back with interest for it. They want to minimize risks, and they’ll run a credit check on you, and on your business. Most people who have the financial means to make the down payment on a property have cleared up their credit problems ahead of time, but be aware that a personal or business bankruptcy in the last few years can get you denied for a loan or make you pay for an exorbitant amount.

Soft money has interest charged on it; the interest rate is the percentage of the initial money borrowed that has to be paid (in profit) to the lendor each year. Thus, if you borrow 100,000 dollars at 8% interest and pay it off in one year, you’ll have paid $108,000 for the property. Those interest rates are cumulative over time; there’s a rule of thumb used in the financial market for compound (cumulative) interest rates called the Rule of 72: Divide 72 by the number of points of interest your money is making, and that’s the number of years it will take for the cumulative interest to equal the amount of the initial loan. Using our earlier $100,000 investment, at 8% APY, 72 divided by 8 is nine, which means that paying that loan back over 9 years means you’ll have paid out $200,000 for the property. Always factor your interest rates into your cost calculations on return on investment, and monthly cash flow calculations.

Now, the good news is that some interest, especially when applied to residential properties, is tax deductible for your business, but still, you’ll need to assess several things with your property before getting the initial loan.

The first one – what’s the largest down payment you can afford, without hurting your own cash position? Larger down payments result in saving money in the long run, but can be an important cash flow hit early in the history of the investment. Larger down payments will usually (but not always) translate into lower monthly costs on the property (the primary exceptions are when you’re buying a residential property with high tenancy rates – these command high initial down payments because of their favorable capitalization rates and revenue potential, but still have the attendant costs of running a residential property.)

Second, how quickly do you intend to sell this property? The longer you intend to hold on to the property, the better a long term loan will look. This is because banks charge lower interest rates for longer period loans, due to the rule of 72 mentioned above. If you want to buy, renovate and turn, you’re going to want to get a shorter term loan, because it’s harder to sell a property with attached debts and second mortgages. In particular, any property that needs substantial improvement may need to have its interest rate needs assesses carefully – it’s not difficult at all to take a commercial property and turn it into a money pit that consumes all your profits.

For sources for your loan, the obvious place to look is a bank, preferably one with a strong business lending history. Understand that due to the regulations put on the Savings and Loan industry in the 1980s, it’s very hard for small businesses to get a substantial sum of money; there are regulations that keep them from lending to new businesses to prevent a future bailout. Another source for your loan can be a credit union or building society; these are tools that allow multiple investors to pool resources to build businesses – this is one reason why credit unions require all customers be called members, and why they require a $5 deposit.

Not so obvious places for your loan: If you’re coming out of the military, you’re entitled to a Veterans Administration loan, generally at very favorable rates, and bypassing a large number of credit checks for loans of $150,000 or less. While the intent of this loan program is to let veterans buy their first homes after mustering out, these loans are excellent tools for new investors to buy, renovate and turn properties over for a quick profit.

Similarly, Small Business Investment Relations (or SBIR) loans can often be had from local chambers of commerce, if you can provide a solid business plan for how you’re going to make a profit and pay the loan back. Housing and Urban Development loans can also be had for investors who intend to hold on to a property for low income housing, though this tends to be best as for a “buy and hold” strategy.

Who Else Wants To Shop For Cheap Loans

There are several things to look at when you shop for cheap loans. You may or may not qualify for the cheapest of the cheap loans, so what youre really going to need to do is first find these cheapest loans, then determine their requirements for qualification, eliminate those for which you dont qualify and then compare the rates, fees, and features of the others.

Keep in mind that there are many things that affect whether a loan is really cheap or not. Not all loans are cheap just because their rate is low. If, for example, they have prepayment penalties that are high and you are determined to get out from under the loan as quickly as possible this particular loan wouldn’t belong in your list of cheap loans to consider.

Whether you are looking for cheap personal or business loans, secured or unsecured loans you can find several free loan comparisons and calculators on the Web. Some update their information each day, some offer reviews, and others allow the consumers themselves to rate the cheap loans and various lenders.

Before you set out to use a directory or review site about the various cheap loan vendors make sure that the site is impartial and not just spoon feeding you the best foot forward of its own lender clients.

Loans, cheap or otherwise, are not ever a one size fits all product. They have specific qualifying criteria, especially the lowest priced of them. Keep in mind as a rule of thumb that a secured loan is less costly than an unsecured one.

Of course, if you don’t have the collateral, aren’t willing to risk it or have it otherwise tied up in securing another loan, you’re out of options. The cheapest of the cheap loans is going to be closed to you.

Before you start looking you must note how much money you want to borrow, how long you will need to take to repay the money, if you need insurance to protect your payment in case of disability or other financial crisis such as job loss, just how bad or good your credit is, and any loan and lender features you must have or want to avoid.

These are the things that will narrow down your options, leaving you with a list of those who will accept your application and those whose loan you’re willing to consider.
Of course, an adverse credit history will affect your ability to secure cheap loans. The more risk you present to the creditors the higher the rate of interest you will need to pay. You’ll want to search out the lenders that specialize in offering loans to those with bad credit. These firms are more likely to offer you the cheap loans.

It only makes sense, of course, that when you’ve narrowed down your creditor list to those who may offer cheap loans and for whose loan you may qualify, you are going to have to be prepared to tell the directory site and its calculator, the online broker or the creditor themselves how much you need to borrow, how much your current property is worth (in the case of a home equity loan,) what your mortgage payments are, what your income is, what your assets and liabilities are, and how much you can afford to pay each month.

CNBC Fast Money And The Halftime Report

CNBC Fast Money is a financial talk show in the US mainly discussing stock trading. Since 2007, it is aired every night at 5 pm or an hour after the conclusion of the NYSE. But in 2011, this financial investing TV program was moved to Mondays to Thursday to give way to special programs and forex trading on Fridays. The show is taped in NASDAQ headquarters in New York. After Dylan Ratigan, who is now the host of Fast Money?

Vibrant and dynamic, the panel referred to as the Fast Money Five and host Melisa Lee offers an interactive stock trading talk show. When the trade is closed, Melissa and the Fast five provides input about the significant financial trends and how viewers can gain profit. How can you gain fast cash with this program?

Often visited by experienced traders and panelists, CNBC Fast Money offers valuable insights for viewers who are interested in stock trading and individual or corporate investors searching for crucial information. With interesting segments and program features that provides marker for the most significant pops, drops and notable players in the stock market, this program is directed to the financial world and catered to help traders in the succeeding days. What about the program’s ratings?

The first 13 episodes of CNBC Fast Money in 2006 at Wednesdays 8 pm were very low at estimated 110,000 viewers a week. The program was moved to a new timeslot at 5 pm resulting to its better reception and higher ratings. Viewership has doubled within a few weeks. Then after this 5 pm test, the network re-launched the program back at 8 pm hoping it might have gained footing after the amplified viewership. It failed. Ratings plummeted again. Fortunately CNBC retried the program at 5 pm and had gained its intended viewership for good. What about the Halftime Report?

CNBC Fast Money Halftime Report has similar format but airs after noon. This show debuted in 2010 and was initiated from the segment on CNBC power Lunch. This special edition is hosted by Scott Wagner and airs live from Global HQ in New Jersey. Initially aired as a 30-minute talk show, the halftime Report became a one-hour TV program in 2011 and moved up to the noontime programming. This is the replacement of the cancelled show “The Strategy Session,” which suffered from very low ratings. Individual and corporate traders and investors can watch this show to monitor current trends in the stock trade and get the latest insights from the experts.

Internet Banking: Relevance in a Changing World

Surprising, but true – Internet-based activity is not the preserve of the young “digital native” generation alone. A 2008 survey says that Generation X (those born between 1965 and 1976) uses Internet banking significantly more than any other demographic segment, with two thirds of Internet users in this age group banking online.

Gen X users have also professed their preference for applications such as Facebook, to share, connect and be part of a larger community.

This is some irony in this, since online banking, as we know it today, offers minimal interactivity. Unlike in a branch, where the comfort of two way interaction facilitates the consummation of a variety of transactions, the one way street of e-banking has only managed to enable the more routine tasks, such as balance inquiry or funds transfer.

It’s not hard to put two and two together. A clear opportunity exists for banks that can transform today’s passive Internet banking offering into one that provides a more widespread and interactive customer experience.

It is therefore imperative that banks transform their online offering, such that it matches the new expectations of customers. Moreover, Internet banking must journey to popular online customer hangouts, rather than wait for customers to come to it.

There are clear indications that the shift towards a “next generation” online banking environment has already been set in motion. It is only a matter of time before these trends become the norm.

Leveraging of Social Networks

Forward thinking banks are leveraging existing social networks on external sites to increase their visibility among interested groups. They are also deploying social software technology on their own sites to engage the same communities in two way discussions. Thus, their Internet banking has assumed a more pervasive persona – customers are engaging with the bank, along with its products and services even when they’re not actually transacting online.

Heightened visibility apart, banks can gain tremendous customer insight from such unstructured, informal interactions. For example, a discussion on the uncertain financial future among a group of 18 to 25 years old could be a signal to banks to offer long term investment products to a segment that was previously not considered a target. Going one step further, a positive buzz around a newly launched service can create valuable word-of-mouth advertising for the business.

Collaborating through Web 2.0

The collaborative aspect of Web 2.0 applications has enabled banks to draw customers inside their fold more than ever before. Traditional methods such as focus group discussions or market research suffer from the disadvantages of high cost, limited scope and potential to introduce bias. Feedback forms merely serve as a post-mortem. In contrast, Web 2.0 has the ability to carry a vast audience along right from the start, and continue to do so perpetually. Thus, an interested community of prospects and customers participate in co-creating products and services which can fulfill their expectations.

The pervasiveness of Web 2.0 enables delivery of e-banking across multiple online locations and web-based gadgets such as Yahoo!Widgets, Windows Live or the iPhone. This means next generation online banking customers will enjoy heightened access and convenience

A New York based firm of analysts found that 15% of the 70 banks tracked by them had adopted Web 2.0, a number of them having done so within the last 12 months.

Standard Chartered Bank employees connect with their colleagues through Facebook and use the platform to share knowledge, clarify questions and participate in discussions on ongoing company activities.

Bank of America, Wachovia Bank and Commonwealth Credit Union have built a presence within interactive media to create awareness and keep up a dialogue with interested communities. They have employed a variety of methods, ranging from creating YouTube communities to launching campaigns on Current TV, a channel in which viewers determine content.

Personalization of Online Banking

Vanilla e-banking divides customers into very large, heterogeneous groups – typically, corporate, retail or SME, with one type of Internet banking page for each. That’s in sharp contradiction to how banking organizations would like to view their clientele. Banks are moving towards customer-specificity, almost viewing each client as a “segment of one”, across other channels, and online banking is set to follow suit. For instance, a specific home page for home loan customers and another for private banking clients could well be a possibility in future.

Interestingly, National Bank of Kuwait had the foresight to do this several years ago – they enabled customers to determine which products they would view and access, and were rewarded with a dramatic increase in online transactions.

Money Monitor from Yes Bank allows customers to choose their landing page – for example, they can set “all transactions”, “net worth” or “portfolio” as their default view. Other features include the ability to categories transactions as per customers’ convenience and the printing of custom reports.

Empowerment Online

Beyond doubt, Internet banking has created a more informed, empowered class of customers. This is set to climb to the next level once customers are allowed to proactively participate in many more transaction-related processes. The Internet has already made it possible for customers to compare product loan offerings, simulate financial scenarios and design custom retirement portfolios. Going forward, they would be able to consummate related transactions – which means, after comparing interest rates, they could originate a loan online, and once secured, they can begin to repay it online as well.

Portalization

The emergence of Web 2.0 technology coupled with banks’ desire to personalize their e-banking to the highest degree is likely to result in “portalization” of Internet banking. The idea of banking customers being able to create their own spaces online, filled with all that is relevant to them, is not that far-fetched. Customers can personalize their Internet banking page to reflect the positions of multiple accounts across different banks; they could include their credit card information, subscribe to their favorite financial news, consolidate their physical assets position, share their experiences with a group and do more – all from one “place”.

Money Monitor enables customers to add multiple “accounts” (from a choice of 9,000) to their page. Accounts could be savings or loan accounts with major Indian banks, or those with utilities providers, credit card companies, brokerage firms and even frequent flyer programs. Users can customize their pages as described earlier.

As banks seek to develop their Internet banking vision for the future, in parallel, they will also need to address the key issues of security and “due defense”. While it is every marketer’s dream to have customers work as ambassadors, adequate precaution must be taken to prevent the proliferation of malicious or spurious publicity. Therefore, before an individual is allowed to participate in a networking forum, he or she must have built up a favorable track record with the bank. The individual must be a recognized customer of the bank, having used a minimum number of products over a reasonable length of time. Qualitative information about the person’s interaction with the bank’s support staff (for example frequency and type of calls made to their call center, outcome of such interaction and so on) may be invaluable in profiling the “right” type of customer who can be recruited as a possible advocate.

Collaborative Web 2.0 applications may necessitate opening up banks’ websites to outside technology and information exchange with third party sites, raising the spectre of data and infrastructure security. A robust mechanism of checks and balances must be built to ensure that the third party sites are secure, appropriately certified and pose no threat to the home banks’ sites. Likewise, before a third party widget is allowed to be brought on to a site, it must have passed through stringent security control.

Due diligence must be exercised before permitting users to place a link to another site to guard against the possibility of inadvertent download of malicious software, which could, in the worst case, even result in phishing originating from the banks’ sites.

It is equally important for a bank to guard its customers against invasion of privacy, data theft or misuse. The concept of portalization envisages deploying technology to bring information from other banks’ or financial service providers’ websites into the home bank’s site. The home bank must ensure that its customers’ personal or transaction related information, which may be shared with the other providers, is not susceptible to leakage or outright misuse.

Banks will do well to partner with an Internet banking solution provider which has not only the expertise to translate their vision into a cutting edge e-banking experience for the user, but also the foresight to define boundaries for safety. With security concerns adequately addressed, next generation Internet banking is full of exciting possibilities. Banks that seize the opportunity may find that Internet banking can become a means of differentiating themselves from competitors, rather than a mere cost cutting tool. Clearly, providing a more powerful and interactive e-banking experience, is the way forward.

Where to Deduct Tax Preparation Fees

Where should an individual taxpayer deduct tax preparation fees? The obvious answer might be on Schedule A of Form 1040 as a miscellaneous deduction. Are tax preparation fees deductible only on Schedule A for all taxpayers? Thankfully, the answer is no.

Deducting tax preparation fees on Schedule A will provide little or no benefit for most taxpayers because the total miscellaneous deductions must exceed two percent of the taxpayer’s adjusted gross income to provide any benefit. In addition, the taxpayer’s total itemized deductions must usually exceed the standard deduction amount to provide any tax benefit.

The IRS ruled in Rev. Rul. 92-29 that taxpayers may deduct tax preparation fees related to a business, a farm, or rental and royalty income on the schedules where the taxpayer reports such income.

A taxpayer who is self-employed may deduct the portion of the tax preparation fees related to the business, including schedules such as depreciation schedules, on Schedule C of Form 1040 as a business expense. The tax preparation fees deducted on Schedule C save the taxpayer income tax and self-employment tax.

A taxpayer who is self-employed as a farmer would deduct the portion of the tax preparation fees related to the farm on Schedule F of Form 1040. The tax preparation fees deducted on Schedule F save the taxpayer income tax and self-employment tax.

A taxpayer who has rental and/or royalty income reported on Schedule E of Form 1040 would deduct the portion of the tax preparation fees related to the rental and/or royalty income on Schedule E. The tax preparation fees deducted on Schedule E save the taxpayer income tax. However, the tax preparation fees deducted on Schedule E do not save the taxpayer any self-employment tax because the rental and/or royalty income reported on Schedule E is not subject to self-employment tax.

A taxpayer may not deduct all of the tax preparation fees on Schedules C, E, and F of Form 1040. The tax preparer should provide a statement to the taxpayer that indicates how much of the tax preparation fee was related to the taxpayer’s business, farm, and/or rental and/or royalty income. The taxpayer may deduct the remainder of the tax preparation fee only on Schedule A.

If the tax preparer does not provide the taxpayer with a detailed statement showing how much of the tax preparation fee was for the taxpayer’s business, farm, and/or rental and/or royalty income, the taxpayer shoud ask the tax preparer for an itemized statement. If the tax preparer will not provide an itemized statement, the taxpayer should use a reasonable allocation. In that case, the taxpayer should seriously consider using a different tax preparer next year.

Here is an example. Assume that the taxpayer is self-employed and also owns rental real estate. The tax preparation fee for the taxpayer’s Form 1040 and related schedules for 2005 was $600. The tax preparer states that of the $600 total fee, $300 was related to the taxpayer’s business, $200 was related to the rental real estate, and the remainng $100 was related to other parts of the taxpayer’s income tax return. The taxpayer paid the $600 in February 2006.

On the taxpayer’s income tax return for 2006, the taxpayer may deduct the $600 tax preparation fee as follows: $300 on Schedule C, $200 on Schedule E, and $100 on Schedule A as a miscellaneous deduction.

Everything You Ever Needed to Know About Payday Loans But Were Afraid to Ask

A payday loan is a small short term loan you can use to cover expenditure until your next payday. You can apply online and the decision to loan you the money is made almost straight away. In most cases the whole application can be completed online and the money loaned can be credited into your bank account on the same day as you make your application.

A payday loan is an unsecured loan, so it is not dependent on collateral, such as you owning a house or car etc.

Generally when you make your first application you can borrow any amount up to £300, depending on your take home pay. You are more likely to be approved the less you want to borrow, so it is advisable to borrow only what you need. Once you have successfully repaid loans with one particular company they may then offer to lend you anything up to about £750 in subsequent loans.

Payday loans can provide a useful solution for short term cash flow problems.

Who can apply for a Payday loan?

In order to be eligible for a payday loan you must be over 18 years old and in employment with a take home wage of at least £750 per month. You must also have a bank account with a valid debit card.

Even if you have bad credit history you should still be able to obtain a payday loan as long as you fulfill the above criteria.

How do you get a Payday loan?

The majority of payday loans are available online, so there is no delay with faxing or posting of documents. The application process is quick and easy to complete. You will be asked for your name, address, details about your monthly income and employment, when your next payday is, along with the amount you wish to borrow and your bank account details.

Once you have submitted your application you should hear back from the payday loan provider within minutes. They will email you with their decision to the email address you have registered with your application.

Payday loan providers partly make their decision as whether to lend you money dependent on the amount you want to borrow compared to the amount you earn. Only borrow what you need, the less you borrow the more likely that your application will be accepted and the smaller the amount of interest you will accrue.

If your application is successful you will be sent, by email, your loan agreement showing the amount that will be lent to you, the repayment date and the amount of interest you will pay on the repayment date. Along with the loan agreement you should also be sent loan conditions. These loan conditions should outline your rights under the Consumer Credit Act 1974 along with details about repaying the loan, cancelling the loan and the use the personal information you supply when applying for the payday loan.

If you are happy to proceed you sign online by providing details of your name and answering a security question such as your mothers’ maiden name. Then, email this back to the loan provider and the money will be deposited into the bank account you registered at the application process. The money can be deposited in your bank account on the same day you make the application, so this is a very fast and efficient way of borrowing money short term.

How do I repay the loan?

You will need to repay the loan amount and the interest accrued on the repayment date as specified in the loan agreement. The repayment date is usually your payday, hence the name payday loan.

The repayment will be collected by the loan provider by debiting the bank account you registered at the application process, which is the bank account into which you get your wages paid.

Repayment over a longer period

Payday loans may be extended if you find yourself in a position to be unable to satisfy all or part of the amount due on the repayment date. If this happens it is recommended that you contact your payday loan provider as soon as possible and explain your circumstances to them. They will then be able to explain your options and how to go about extending your loan.

Even if you are not able to fully settle the repayment amount, it is advisable to pay off as much as possible on the repayment date. This will help to keep the amount of interest you owe to a minimum. Some companies may charge you additional fees for extending your loan, you should check if this is the case before you sign your loan agreement.

Regulation of Payday Loan Companies

Properly regulated payday loan companies must adhere to strict laws governing the finance industry.

As with any financial product you apply for it is always advisable to check that the company offering the loan is properly regulated. The payday loan company you are applying to should show its Consumer Credit License number within its loan conditions and it should also be authorized by the Office of Fair Trading. If you are in any doubt as to whether the payday loan company you are considering applying to is fully regulated then you are within your rights to contact either of these bodies for further information.

As long as the payday loan company you are applying to is properly regulated, there will be a recognized body to make any complaints you may have to and you can be assured that you will not be subject to any unfair practices.

What are the benefits of a Payday loan?

Fast

One of the main benefits of a payday loan is the speed at which the cash can be credited to you. The money you need can be available to you in your bank account on the same day that you make the application. This can provide valuable assistance if you have a short term cash flow problem and need money in an emergency.

Simple

The application process is very simple, it takes just minutes to apply for a payday loan and you do not have waste time posting or faxing documents to the payday loan provider, as you would with other more traditional high street loans.

Poor Credit History

Payday loans are available to people with a poor credit history. This is because payday loan companies do not solely make their decision to lend based on a persons credit history. As long as you fulfill the application criteria you have a good chance of obtaining a payday loan. For many people a payday loan may be the only way they are able to obtain credit, especially in the current financial climate where the majority of lenders are unwilling to provide loans altogether, never mind to a person with a poor credit history.

Use of the Loan Money

You do not have to tell the payday loan provider what you need the payday loan for. You can use the money for whatever you want. You may need money in an emergency which can not wait until payday for instance; emergency medical or dental treatment, to settle a bill quickly, extra spending money on holiday or even for a romantic weekend away. The choice is yours as long as you make the repayment due on the repayment date.

No Upfront Costs

There are no upfront costs associated with a payday loan. You do not pay anything back until the repayment date you have agreed to in the loan agreement.

Why does the APR appear high on payday loans?

The APR applied to payday loans appears at first glance to be high. This is very misleading, but there is a simple reason why this figure looks so high. APR is an Annual Percentage Rate, and as such is calculated over a whole year (365 days). However, a payday loan is taken usually only over a number of days or weeks.

The APR calculation was not designed to apply to very short term loans such as payday loans. It was designed to apply to long term loans in existence for a year or more. It is really a theoretical figure than enables people to compare similar longer term loan products, like mortgages or ongoing credit balances.

Rather than relying on the APR rate it is more advisable to look directly at the loan agreement to see exactly how much interest you will be charged for the period of your payday loan. Some companies have a standard interest charge for the amount you wish to borrow regardless of the duration of the loan. It is then up to you to decide whether you will be able to repay both the cash advance you receive initially and the interest amount on the repayment date.

To Conclude

Many people do not have savings or access to credit cards or more traditional loans and so the convenience of a regulated payday loan provides piece of mind should the occasion arise that they need some money quickly.

If you need money in a hurry, can not wait until payday and are confident that you can make the necessary repayments on the repayment date, this could be the ideal solution for you.

Overall, payday loans are convenient, easy to access and offer a viable option for people who require money quickly for whatever reason.

Options For Getting Your Taxes Prepared

When tax season rolls around each year the are a number of individuals who need to decide how their tax returns will be prepared and filed. Each taxpayer has a number of tax preparation options. These tax preparation options can include self preparation or hiring the services of a tax professional.

Individuals who makes the decision to hire the help of a tax professional are likely to hire an accountant or professional tax preparer. The majority of professional tax preparers are employed by a large company that specializes in tax preparation. Taxpayers are often required to take the necessary documents to a tax preparation office. Popular professional tax preparation companies include H&R Block and Jackson Hewitt. There are likely to be other smaller or locally owned tax preparation companies located in cities or towns throughout the United States.

Taxpayers also have the option of hiring an accountant to prepare and file their taxes. Many individuals who have complicated financial records are likely to hire the services of an accountant because accountants are not only trained in tax preparation, but bookkeeping as well. When choosing a tax accountant to do business with taxpayers are encouraged to ask an accountant about their qualifications or relevant business experience. There are two main types of accountants. One is a person that may just have previous accounting experience and then there are certified public accountants (CPAs). Certified public accountants (CPAs) are required to take a set number of college credits and pass a CPA exam before becoming certified. Certified public accountants are likely to charge their clients more money; however, they tend to offer better results due to their large amounts of training and experience.

The only downside to hiring a professional tax preparer or an accountant to do your taxes is that they are likely to cost a large amount of money. The majority of accountants and other professional tax preparers charge their clients based on the number of state and federal forms that need to be filled out and how complicated they all are. It is not uncommon for an individual to pay over one hundred dollars to have their taxes professionally prepared. For this reason there are many individuals who decide to prepare their own taxes.

When an individual decides to prepare their own taxes they have a number of different tax preparation options. Until recently the majority of taxpayers who prepared their own taxes relied on paper tax forms to file their taxes. Paper forms are not as popular as they used to be; however, there are still many individuals who use them. The majority of taxpayers have federal and state tax return forms mailed to their residence. This is a convenient option that is given to all previous taxpayers. Other taxpayers can obtain federal and state tax forms and their instruction booklets by visiting their local library, post office, or bank.

The reason why paper forms are not as popular as they used to be is because of the development of tax software programs. Tax software programs are available for purchase online or in most retail stores. They are designed to allow individuals to prepare and file their taxes accurately and quickly. There are many tax software programs that transfer a taxpayers information from one form to the next. All tax software programs have a mathematical checker that prevents a number of errors from being reported on a tax return. Tax preparation software programs often come in a standard, deluxe, or premium version. The deluxe and premium versions are likely to include both federal and state tax return forms while the majority of standard versions only include federal tax return forms.

Once a taxpayers make the decision to have their taxes professional prepared or self prepared there are still more decisions that need to be made. Individuals are encouraged to examine their situation and decide whether they should hire an accountant, take their takes to a tax preparation office, file paper tax returns, or use a tax preparation software program. Each taxpayer is likely to make a different selection based on different circumstances. What are yours?

Tips of Avoiding a Devious Tax Preparer

There are many taxpayers who have found themselves on the wrong side of the IRS because they used the services of unscrupulous tax preparers. There are also others who have had their refunds embezzled by preparers. It is therefore, important that you research a tax preparer before signing up for his or her services. Below are some tips that will help you spot a crooked preparer:

  • Rate Depends on Amount of Refund – Avoid preparers who base their consultation fees based on the amount of a tax refund that they are able to get you. This is because such preparers use dubious ways of increasing your refund, such as inflate figures or including non-existing dependents. Such deceptive ways of increasing your tax refund can easily lead to both civil and criminal charges and therefore, it is important that you avoid such people.
  • Preparers Who Promise Large Refund – Another red flag for dubious preparers is ones who promise to get you a very large refund check as a way of enticing you to hire his or her services. Once again, such preparers may use illegal ways of raising your refund amount and this may easily get you into trouble with the tax authorities.
  • PTIN Qualifications – When searching for a preparer to hire his or her services, it is important that you ensure that the preparer has a Preparer Tax Identity Number (PTIN). As from a policy started in 2012, the IRS is requiring all preparers to apply for the PTIN after meeting certain meticulous qualifications. Once the IRS authenticates the credibility of the preparer, they issue the preparer with the PTIN. Therefore, confirming that your preparer has a PTIN is an important precaution to avoiding shady tax preparers. Besides having the PTIN, the preparer also ought to sign the tax return form before submitting.
  • Deposit Refunds to Preparer Account – Tax preparers who request you to indicate their address for the tax refunds or deposit tax refunds into their bank account are another red flag sign. A tax preparer should always indicate the taxpayers account for the tax refund.
  • Signing Blank Form – Tax preparers that prepare tax returns and submit without you going through the returns is yet another red flag. Some tax preparers will request you to sign a blank tax return form. They will then tell you that they will prepare and submit the return on your behalf and you do not need to confirm the details. Such an arrangement can lead to the preparer giving false information for selfish gain. Even when a taxpayer uses the services of a preparer, he or she is still held responsible for all the information provided on the return. Therefore, ensure that you verify the information indicated on the return before signing the tax return form.
  • Where to Get Fast Money Online the Legitimate Way

    Making fast money online is possible as the internet is quick-changing and transactions are all over the world, you can actually find great moneymaking opportunities online. Of course, you can work online, do business online, sell something online and even earn from your expertise online.

    If you are resourceful enough to learn some tips and skills that are needed to be able to sell online or make good profits online, you can also earn fast as well. If you are interested to find additional income or earn great commissions online, here are a few avenues where you can learn how to make fast money online the legitimate way.

    – Write and make profits. Writing is a skill that is in-demand online, as websites need content and it is important to convey valuable information online through writing to be able to sell something or reach out to potential customers online. if you have a flair in writing, you can actually make fast money by accepting writing jobs, writing for websites and clients or writing your own eBook and selling it online. You can also write for online newspapers, write ad copies for companies and businesses and write product reviews for a fee. There are endless opportunities and you also get to be paid once you have finished your tasks. If you want a faster turn out, then speed up your writing as well. The more projects you finish in a period of time, the better you can make good money.

    – Graphic and website designing. Another in demand skill online that can help you make fast money online is graphic design. Graphic design or website designing is needed on websites and in most aspect of the internet and since this is a specialized job, you can also get good pay out of it. Like writing, you can also get fast money online in this area. If you want to earn more, then you also have to speed up your time working on your design projects without compromising quality as well.

    – Foreign exchange. The currency market works around the clock and this can be fast and quick. With the convenience of the internet, you can also make fast money online through foreign exchange or currency trading. However, even though this is a profitable venture, this can also be risky and full of uncertainties, thus make sure you have the confidence and the guts to get yourself into such a risky business to make good and fast money online as well.

    – Consultancy. For those who are masters in some fields of expertise, you can also share your expertise to the online world for a fee and start to making money as well.

    If you are good in selling, then you can also sell something and anything online to make fast money. There are a number of good websites online where you can actually sign up and sell your products. Whether they are digital or something you have rummaged in your closet that you don’t need anymore, you can actually sell any items online for fast cash. Online auctions are particularly popular, thus you may also want to jump in to that trend as well.

    All You Need To Understand About Payday Loans

    A payday loan indeed has many names. Some call it a cash advance loan. A few think of it as a check advance loan. One another name is often a post-dated check loan. A few others call it a deferred-deposit check loan. The Federal Trade Commission in the U.S. calls it “costly cash”. Regardless of what you call it, it is really the same thing: a smallish (generally $50 to $500) short-term loan having considerable interest rate.

    Why would you obtain a payday loan?

    Payday loans are preferred for many reasons. To those who are actually in the position of requiring one, its benefits outnumber the disadvantages. And there really are shortcomings; nevertheless we will analyze those aspects subsequently.

    To start with, place yourself in the shoes of the individual who requires some quick money. Perhaps you have just been placed in the unenviable situation of suddenly requiring some cash and being taken by surprise. You might have had a totally unexpected health care bill or perhaps automobile repair bill, or you may really need to take a trip unexpectedly, like in the case of demise in the family. Some people who want swift funds utilize it to fork out their every day expenditures, such as rent, groceries, utilities, and so on… Whatever the reason will be, you desperately require that money and you simply do not now have it.

    Is really a payday loan your last option? Do you have other different solutions you could check out first? Well, what are often the merits of payday loans? Let us find out:

    1. You would not really have to undergo the hassle of a credit check.

    2. You will be able to fill out an application in person, on the phone or on the internet.

    3. The procedure normally takes under 20 minutes.

    4. The loan proceeds are conveniently deposited into your bank account in less than a day.

    5. It is very affordable, at least to start with – you really do not have any up-front expenses.

    6. It is very discreet – nobody else is involved in the process.

    7. It is secure – your financial details are not discussed with others.

    Alright, that makes sense. These are adequate reasons to get rid of the stress of remaining short of money. It is really a “quick fix”. You will be able to cover the shortage, and move on with your life. And you will be able to repay the next payday, correct? So you have settled your situation.

    Just where would you be able to get a payday loan?

    Payday loan firms are pretty much all over the place. There are over 10,000 payday loan outlets in operation in the U.S. And they are spread out in identical fashion all over the globe. If there is not a payday loan outlet near you, you can search the internet and uncover plenty of online payday loans out there.

    These providers are in business to “help” people in dire financial need. They give these kinds of loans to individuals that cannot obtain the money they need at any other place. Let us now profile one firm who furnishes payday loans as part of their basically financial services business – Money Mart.

    Money Mart was basically promoted as an alternate to banks. Their hours would extend past banking hours, and they would situate themselves in lot more accessible locations than banks. They can cash checks even when banks were closed, and people would not really have to travel very far for their services. They should have been on the correct course since today, they have 1,700 locations in Canada, the U.S. and the U.K.

    A common Money Mart customer actually is an average working individual, 32 years old (82% of clientele are less than 45 years) and currently employed, having an annual earnings of approximately the national average. These clients go to Money Mart because of their fast service, their easy venues, and their prolonged functioning hours. The entrepreneurs of Money Mart had been right – their primary ideas nonetheless hold true these days.

    Ever since including payday cash advances to their monetary services, they have carved themselves a very nice niche in the market. But they are certainly not the sole choice. You can today find a minimum of one, and typically several, payday loan facilities in almost every community.

    Why precisely would you choose not to obtain a payday loan?

    Now that we have researched the convenience of payday loans, let us now have a fair take a look at the disadvantages. All over the United States of America, governments on virtually every level are looking at payday loan channels with mounting worry. Plenty of individuals feel that they make the most of low-income people in financial difficulties. Some go as far as to express they “prey” on them. Their argument to that is that they are filling up a requirement and they are not carrying out anything illegal. So the debate goes on – let us examine why.

    Do you remember when you believed you had sorted out your difficulty and you could move on with your routines? Well, what if perhaps your following paycheck, after your planned expenses, was not good enough to pay off the obligation?

    If perhaps you came up short once again, you need not be troubled – payday loans are extendable, or renewable. This procedure is termed “rollover” and, when you do the same far too many times, it can end up costing you a whole lot of money. Let us study an illustration: Say that you borrowed $100 for 2 weeks (till your following payday). You give a check to the loan provider for $115 (including your $15 fee). The annual percentage rate of that loan is actually 391%! If perhaps you cannot pay off the $115 at the due date, you can rollover the loan for another couple of weeks. If perhaps you rollover the loan 3 times, the lending fee will reach $60 for a $100 loan. That is quite substantial interest, do not you suppose?

    These are details you need to give consideration to when you are deciding if a cash advance payday loan is the ideal solution in your particular circumstance. For sure, the loan cost is substantial, yet it gives you the funds you require, whenever you need it, thus avoiding a whole lot of tension and trouble. It is really pretty true in consumerism nowadays that convenience will cost you money. Nevertheless is it worth that much? That is a question you will really have to answer for on your own.

    Payday loans tend to be controversial – however they do fill a necessity

    At this point we have evidently presented both sides of the discussion – and it is really a big debate in recent times. Hence which party will you go with? That depends upon your current situation. In case you truly simply have to have it, and you do not really possess some other choice, then a payday loan is probably the prudent thing for you. At the very least you will be in a position to keep your peace of mind, even when it does cost you some money.

    When you end up in this scenario, use it as a chance to learn. Keep in mind, there are hardly any mistakes – simply lessons. When it is essential to get hold of a payday loan, ensure that you do not really roll it over a lot of times – that is really when it will become a trouble. Also in the interim, try to create a crisis fund so you would be able to cover those unforeseen expenditures. Become a good financial manager. Then you would possess an alternative, and also you would not have to depend on a payday loan as being “your last resort”.

    Getting a Cheap Loan & Improving Your Credit Rating to Ensure Your Loan is Competitive

    Securing a Cheap Loan

    With the current financial crisis constraining the amount of money banks presently lend due to the amount of capital reserves they require to satisfy regulating bodies, credit is not flowing as freely as it once was. Whilst London Inter-Bank Offering Rates (LIBOR) have dropped over the past year simple supply and demand is making loans less affordable at a time when they should technically be at their lowest levels. Basically the present   demand is high from the residential and business loan sectors, however the recent stress test revealed that capital reserves need to mitigate such crisis being sparked again, thus forcing banks to further reign in their lending.

    One way of reigning in that lending is by lending money to people with superior credit ratings. By getting yourself a credit check you substantially improve your chances of securing a loan that you require whether it be for home improvements, car finance, or even a holiday. Don’t forget that making an application for credit goes against your score so ensure that your credit rating is in a suitable position prior application, otherwise you could further damage your chances for future loans and credit such as mortgages, gym memberships, mobile phones etc…

    Businesses and consumers simply want to know what that means to them and why the loans at present are not as cheap as they should be!

    The money markets and LIBOR rate dictate the rate at which banks lend to one another, and even with what appears the bottom of the recession being hit lenders are still cautious on who they lend to and for what period of time. So even though you see the Bank of England Base Rate set by the Monetary Policy Committee set currently at 0.5% this does not mean your rate will be anything near this as wider economic factor influence that rate that filters down through to consumers and businesses.

    Before Applying for the Loan

    Even before you apply for a loan get a credit check to determine if you would even be considered by the lender, as a meaningless application could further hinder you rating and make future loans difficult to attain.

    What if my Credit Rating is poor?

    If your credit rating is poor there are a number of ways to improve your score prior your application for credit here are a brief few things you can do.

    • Clear CCJ’s.
    • Ensure you are on the Electoral Register
    • Time your application well – moving house can be a factor.
    • Clear previous debts & use expensive high rate credit cards (Just for one month).
    • Never miss a payment.
    • Check your address on all active accounts.

    How do I get a Cheap Loan

    Using loan comparison sites can help you compare secured and unsecured loans, credit cards, prepaid cards and payday loans, but these sites don’t always display all caveats. Remember its not just the rate that will make the loan cheap for yourself. More companies seem to be using set up fees and early repayment charges to earn extra money from those who only require a loan over the short term. Please consider the following:

    • You need to compare the APR to determine the true cost of the loan.
    • Look into the ability to make overpayment’s without penalty charges, as this will substantially reduce the capital owed, further reducing the interest paid, meaning your loan cost has been reduced.
    • Check for lenders who are willing to match or even beat rates on the high street in order to attain your custom, after all they are still competing for your custom.
    • Limit the amount you need to borrow on high APR – don’t just use one source, couple an interest free credit card with a higher APR loan if that is all that’s available as one will offset the other.

    Getting a loan over a certain amount can sometimes be more beneficial than getting a smaller loan due to administration charges and other governing factors, so bear this in mind when applying for a loan [http://www.loanrunner.co.uk/loans], therefore it can be cheaper to get a larger loan and then simply make an overpayment offset the induced interest.

    Fast Money Recap – The Basics

    Many people nowadays want to earn fast money. One of the ways to accomplish that is by learning the trend in the stock market. One of the most watched business programs in the United States is the Fast Money program by CNBC. Did you miss an episode? Do not worry; you can always watch it through Fast Money Recap.

    If you want to stay updated on the stock trading trends, then the program to watch is Fast Money Recap. The show airs for about 60 minutes and is shot on location at NASDAQ Market Site, New York City. It is produced by CNBC and serves as a ticker that shows index symbols and security similar to an old telegraph messaging set-up. Tickers flashed on the program uses information from various third-party companies like the American Stock Exchange (AMEX), the NASDAQ, the New York Stock Exchange and Reuters. In other words it serves as a business news band around the globe. The said ticker is now shown in between commercial breaks.

    They even have blogs to keep its viewers updated with how the money moves in the stock market. This American stock trading show has been in live telecast for almost six years or from 2006. Getting a large following the program has undergone re-formats to suit trader’s choices. The program also talks about exchange-traded funds, commodities and options trading as well. There are usually Wall Street trading experts that will discuss about how-to invest well, technical analysis on the economy and merits of the debate regarding a certain sector or stock.

    Why watch Fast Money Recap? This has everything a serious trader needs: the views of each stock owner on their stocks, stock predictions and disclosures by the traders. Most traders would watch this an hour the trading closes to know how the stock market did for that day. This will give you an in-depth knowledge on how to earn money fast in the stock market, which trends to follow and what other investment schemes are effective for you.

    You can get updates of Fast Money Recap through their blogs, or it can be sent straight on your mobile phone. Get the leverage in getting informed regarding business and stock trading news. Knowing how to invest, when to place your hard-earned money online and in the stock market will spell the difference between wealth and bankruptcy so make sure that you are armed with knowledge before investing.

    The Cost of Payday Loans

    You need a cash advance immediately, but are too shy to ask relatives or friends, and are scared of the paperwork involved in a bank loan. Shed all your worries, for help is a mouse click away in the form of payday loans. Payday loans are one of the most convenient ways of getting a cash advance today with practically no paperwork or other hassles.

    Defining Payday loans

    Payday loans are a short-term cash advance, when it is needed the most…usually between paydays! Payday loans are a great way to get some cash to tide you over to your next paycheck. The goal of payday loans is to assist you with finances to meet that unforseen requirement. The money is given as a cash advance and is directly deposited into your personal checking account, after which the cash advance funds, plus a fee, are taken out of your account at the end of the loan which usually is your next payday.

    However, a payday loan is no substitute for long-term financial planning. This cash advance should only be taken to meet urgent financial needs until your next payday. It is only in emergencies that payday loans come in handy. Payday loans also bail you out of situations of bounced checks and late payment penalties by making the appropriate cash advance available.

    Understanding The Cost Of Payday Loans

    Forewarned is forearmed! So it is with payday loans. If you know what this kind of cash advance will cost you, you will be in a better position to weigh the pros and cons of opting for it. This way you will also know exactly what amount you need to pay back to the payday loan companies.

    Your first step should be to find out the best rate of payday loan on offer. Whichever payday loan company you may choose you must know what will be the fixed amount that you will owe upon completing your payday loan.

    Usually most payday loan companies charge around $20 to $30 per $100 of cash advance. To ensure that there are no ambiguities, insist that your final payday loan amount is spelled out in dollars and cents. This will help you know what you need to pay, when your payday loan is due.

    To judge the best deal, go for the payday loans company that is offering a lower APR. Usually, most payday loan companies provide a cost-breakdown per 100-dollar increments that coincide with the rate.

    Furthermore, most payday loan fees are based on the duration of the cash advance. The standard APR for most companies falls into the 400 percent range. As an example, suppose you were to borrow $100 at a fee of $20 for a 2 week period and if you did not pay if for a year, your service charge would be $520 for a 520% APR. To which you need to remember to add the original $100 that you borrowed.

    There may be a situation where you are unable to repay the full amount of the cash advance to the payday loans company. In such a situation, the payday loans company generally charges the payday loans finance fee and defers the principal payment over a longer period of time, usually another 14 days.

    The Other Hidden Costs

    There are several hidden costs in a payday loan! Remember, if you are unable to pay this cash advance and you happen to lose your job, the clock does not stop. If you default on the cash advance, which includes the principal plus interest, the payday loan company will reclaim the entire amount plus all the interest accrued on this loan. A payday loan company may exercise a number of options to collect this cash advance:

    ·Sue you for the funds.

    ·Use a collection agency.

    ·Enter your details into a bad credit database which may limit your capacity to cash/write a check for commercial purposes.

    ·File a legal complaint for bounced-check charges that may leave derogatory information on your credit file.

    By now, it should be clear that it is not prudent to go for payday loans without being aware of the repayment structure. To play it safe, make sure that the cash advance is repaid on time to the payday loans company. Read the fine print before you sign the agreement and understand the worst-case scenarios before deciding to take a payday loan. Once you understand the costs involved in obtaining a cash advance, you are a step nearer to fully enjoying the benefits of payday loans!

    Beware of Tax Preparers Who Promise Large Refunds But Won't Sign Your Tax Return

    In my experience as President of SmartServ Solutions, I come across many new clients each year. Most new come to us as a result of my snazzy advertising or through a referral from one of our existing clients. Still others come because they are looking to get a bigger tax refund. I am all for getting the most money back from Uncle Sam. That is, the most legal money. In recent weeks, I have come across a large number of previously filed fraudulent tax returns from 2005. It is a very disturbing trend occurring in the tax preparation business. Before I explain what is going on with the fraudulent tax returns, I would like to give a brief overview of the different types of tax preparation companies. I would classify the tax preparation business into three major categories:

    The large faceless tax franchises

    Most of the large franchise tax places hire seasonal part time workers who are moonlighting for extra money. They receive training each year from their corporate offices on the new tax laws, but tax preparation is not their primary profession. This leads to in many cases sloppy work and missed deductions. Most of the franchise tax places close down after April 15th.

    Independent tax preparation and accounting firms

    Independent firms are typically small firms where tax preparers work year round and additional support staff is hired during tax season. Many of these types of firms stay open all year and supplement the rest of the year after tax season with related financial service businesses like accounting, mortgages, investments or insurance.

    The “guy” or “girl” who gets big tax refunds

    These people are everywhere. They typically work out of an apartment or small store. Their reputation for getting extremely large tax refunds has spread like wildfire. Everybody either knows this person or someone who goes to someone like it. Their offices or apartments are usually standing room only and people will wait hours and hours just for a chance to get their taxes prepared here. There is an unfortunate reality about this type of outfit. An income tax return can be easily manipulated to create a large “temporary” tax refund. I will get in to the reason why I say “temporarily” shortly. Some people actually get and deserve tax refunds upwards of $10,000, $15,000 or even $20,000. The right combination of children, babysitting, mortgage interest and taxes, large withholdings and education expenses will in many cases create such a large tax refund that is legitimate. However, there are many unscrupulous tax preparers in this category who illegally add some or all of the above deductions and credits to anyone’s tax return.

    The sad truth is that the IRS will send you the money if you file a fraudulent return claiming an undeserving refund. The IRS is a slow moving big government bureaucracy. They may move slowly, but they do move. They have the capabilities of catching up with most of the tax fraud that is out there. It usually takes them a year or two or three after a tax return like this is filed, but they do catch those involved. What most people who utilize these types of tax preparers fail to realize is that they are completely responsible for the tax return that they file. A defense of “my tax preparer did it” or “I didn’t know” isn’t good enough for the IRS. Once you are caught filing such a tax return, you will be subject to pay back all of the money that you received illegally plus penalties, plus interest and possibly fines. And the IRS will get their money. They will use their power to place a tax levy against fraudsters which will give them the right to freeze assets like bank accounts and garnish salary. This is why I call an undeserving tax refund a “temporary” one. The IRS or State Department of Taxation also has the power to seek jail time if they find that there was fraud committed. Obviously, the unscrupulous tax preparers don’t tell this to their unsuspecting clients. I truly feel bad for these people. Most of them don’t understand the implications of filing a false tax return. I have met many people who have had their lives ruined by such circumstances. Life is too precious and it is not worth ruining your life for an extra couple of thousand dollars on your tax return that you don’t deserve. One tell tale sign that your tax preparer may be committing fraud on your tax return is that they refuse to sign the preparers part of your return. A tax preparer is required by the IRS to sign your tax return if they prepared it for you.

    I want to personally caution all taxpayers of filing such a fraudulent tax return in order to receive an unjust refund. There are many legitimate deductions and credits that are available that can be found if you look hard enough. Please choose a tax preparation company who will go the extra mile for your interests while not putting your financial future in jeopardy by getting you in trouble with the IRS.

    Home Loans to Get the Best of Your Property

    At least once in life everyone thinks about moving. Either to a bigger home if the family is growing; or to a smaller one, if the kids are leaving and the actual home is going to be too big for you. Whatever your reason may be, selling a house is always an opportunity.

    Home loans, if well used may help you to make a good deal from your property’s sell. There are many suitable options, depending on your situation and what you are looking for. Even with bad credit, and also if you are still repaying your home mortgage.

    Types Of Home Loans

    There are many options to be evaluated within home loans, you should start evaluating first what is that you want to do. If you want to switch to a bigger home, to a smaller one, and how would you like to invest the extra benefit obtained from the selling, if any.

    There are two important home loan categories that you should look at when thinking about moving. Those are, home purchasing loans and home improvement loans.

    Home improvement loans point to, as their name says, improve your current home. Either if there are any reparations to be done, or if you would like to make your home look better before selling it, these kinds of loans may be a good help. If you do the right modifications, your home value could be increased by the time you find a buyer. Financial companies will also approve loans for landscape improvements, such as constructing a swimming pool, if that is favorable to increase the property’s value.

    Home purchasing loans, in the other hand, are meant to help you on your new home’s purchasing.

    Different Options

    You will find a wide range of loans within both, home improvement and home purchasing loans.

    Home purchasing loans will vary according to what do you intend to do. In example, if you had purchased your actual home whit a home loan which you are still repaying, and the home you are willing to move to will also need extra finance, you could get a home conversion loan. These kinds of loans, place your actual loan into the new home, including the extra amount you need. If you do not have any previous home loan, you can have a mortgage loan or a home equity loan, just over the extra amount you need to buy your new home.

    You will also find many options on home improvement loans, the most common are unsecured personal loans for home improvements, home mortgage refinancing, first mortgage loans and second loans.

    Unsecured personal loans may be a little more expensive than secured loans since they represent more risk for the lender, but you will not need to have equity in your property or any other collateral to apply. Credit score may be a limitation for the borrowed amount, but you are still eligible even if you have bad credit.

    Home mortgage refinancing and first mortgage loans, are good options to evaluate if you have purchased your home with a mortgage loan. First mortgage loans are offered by your current lender, to finance your home improvements over your existent mortgage. With home mortgage refinancing your actual mortgage loan will be refinanced. You will not be borrowing more money, but refinancing will lower your home mortgage monthly payments leaving you extra money to invest on improving your home.

    Second loans are suitable if you have an equity in your property to justify the loan.

    All these options, if well used may help you to obtain the best of your property’s sell. Try to search and compare as many lenders as you can before you decide to apply for any loan.

    Banking Fraud – Prevention and Control

    Banking Fraud is posing threat to Indian Economy. Its vibrant effect can be understood be the fact that in the year 2004 number of Cyber Crime were 347 in India which rose to 481 in 2005 showing an increase of 38.5% while I.P.C. category crime stood at 302 in 2005 including 186 cases of cyber fraud and 68 cases cyber forgery. Thus it becomes very important that occurrence of such frauds should be minimized. More upsetting is the fact that such frauds are entering in Banking Sector as well.

    In the present day, Global Scenario Banking System has acquired new dimensions. Banking did spread in India. Today, the banking system has entered into competitive markets in areas covering resource mobilization, human resource development, customer services and credit management as well.

    Indian’s banking system has several outstanding achievements to its credit, the most striking of which is its reach. In fact, Indian banks are now spread out into the remotest areas of our country. Indian banking, which was operating in a highly comfortable and protected environment till the beginning of 1990s, has been pushed into the choppy waters of intense competition.

    A sound banking system should possess three basic characteristics to protect depositor’s interest and public faith. Theses are (i) a fraud free culture, (ii) a time tested Best Practice Code, and (iii) an in house immediate grievance remedial system. All these conditions are their missing or extremely weak in India. Section 5(b) of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949 defines banking… “Banking is the accepting for the purpose of lending or investment, deposits of money from the purpose of lending or investment, deposits of money from the public, repayable on demand or otherwise and withdraw able by cheque, draft, order or otherwise.” But if his money has fraudulently been drawn from the bank the latter is under strict obligation to pay the depositor. The bank therefore has to ensure at all times that the money of the depositors is not drawn fraudulently. Time has come when the security aspects of the banks have to be dealt with on priority basis.

    The banking system in our country has been taking care of all segments of our socioeconomic set up. The Article contains a discussion on the rise of banking frauds and various methods that can be used to avoid such frauds. A bank fraud is a deliberate act of omission or commission by any person carried out in the course of banking transactions or in the books of accounts, resulting in wrongful gain to any person for a temporary period or otherwise, with or without any monetary loss to the bank. The relevant provisions of Indian Penal Code, Criminal Procedure Code, Indian Contract Act, and Negotiable Instruments Act relating to banking frauds has been cited in the present Article.

    EVOLUTION OF BANKING SYSTEM IN INDIA

    Banking system occupies an important place in a nation’s economy. A banking institution is indispensable in a modern society. It plays a pivotal role in economic development of a country and forms the core of the money market in an advanced country.

    Banking industry in India has traversed a long way to assume its present stature. It has undergone a major structural transformation after the nationalization of 14 major commercial banks in 1969 and 6 more on 15 April 1980. The Indian banking system is unique and perhaps has no parallels in the banking history of any country in the world.

    RESERVE BANK OF INDIA-ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL OBJECTIVE

    The Reserve Bank of India has an important role to play in the maintenance of the exchange value of the rupee in view of the close interdependence of international trade and national economic growth and well being. This aspect is of the wider responsibly of the central bank for the maintenance of economic and financial stability. For this the bank is entrusted with the custody and the management of country’s international reserves; it acts also as the agent of the government in respect of India’s membership of the international monetary fund. With economic development the bank also performs a variety of developmental and promotional functions which in the past were registered being outside the normal purview of central banking. It also acts an important regulator.

    BANK FRAUDS: CONCEPT AND DIMENSIONS

    Banks are the engines that drive the operations in the financial sector, which is vital for the economy. With the nationalization of banks in 1969, they also have emerged as engines for social change. After Independence, the banks have passed through three stages. They have moved from the character based lending to ideology based lending to today competitiveness based lending in the context of India’s economic liberalization policies and the process of linking with the global economy.

    While the operations of the bank have become increasingly significant banking frauds in banks are also increasing and fraudsters are becoming more and more sophisticated and ingenious. In a bid to keep pace with the changing times, the banking sector has diversified it business manifold. And the old philosophy of class banking has been replaced by mass banking. The challenge in management of social responsibility with economic viability has increased.

    DEFINITION OF FRAUD

    Fraud is defined as “any behavior by which one person intends to gain a dishonest advantage over another”. In other words , fraud is an act or omission which is intended to cause wrongful gain to one person and wrongful loss to the other, either by way of concealment of facts or otherwise.

    Fraud is defined u/s 421 of the Indian Penal Code and u/s 17 of the Indian Contract Act. Thus essential elements of frauds are:

    1. There must be a representation and assertion;

    2. It must relate to a fact;

    3. It must be with the knowledge that it is false or without belief in its truth; and

    4. It must induce another to act upon the assertion in question or to do or not to do certain act.

    BANK FRAUDS

    Losses sustained by banks as a result of frauds exceed the losses due to robbery, dacoity, burglary and theft-all put together. Unauthorized credit facilities are extended for illegal gratification such as case credit allowed against pledge of goods, hypothecation of goods against bills or against book debts. Common modus operandi are, pledging of spurious goods, inletting the value of goods, hypothecating goods to more than one bank, fraudulent removal of goods with the knowledge and connivance of in negligence of bank staff, pledging of goods belonging to a third party. Goods hypothecated to a bank are found to contain obsolete stocks packed in between goods stocks and case of shortage in weight is not uncommon.

    An analysis made of cases brings out broadly the under mentioned four major elements responsible for the commission of frauds in banks.

    1. Active involvement of the staff-both supervisor and clerical either independent of external elements or in connivance with outsiders.

    2. Failure on the part of the bank staff to follow meticulously laid down instructions and guidelines.

    3. External elements perpetuating frauds on banks by forgeries or manipulations of cheques, drafts and other instruments.

    4. There has been a growing collusion between business, top banks executives, civil servants and politicians in power to defraud the banks, by getting the rules bent, regulations flouted and banking norms thrown to the winds.

    FRAUDS-PREVENTION AND DETECTION

    A close study of any fraud in bank reveals many common basic features. There may have been negligence or dishonesty at some stage, on part of one or more of the bank employees. One of them may have colluded with the borrower. The bank official may have been putting up with the borrower’s sharp practices for a personal gain. The proper care which was expected of the staff, as custodians of banks interest may not have been taken. The bank’s rules and procedures laid down in the Manual instructions and the circulars may not have been observed or may have been deliberately ignored.

    Bank frauds are the failure of the banker. It does not mean that the external frauds do not defraud banks. But if the banker is upright and knows his job, the task of defrauder will become extremely difficult, if not possible.

    Detection of Frauds

    Despite all care and vigilance there may still be some frauds, though their number, periodicity and intensity may be considerably reduced. The following procedure would be very helpful if taken into consideration:

    1. All relevant data-papers, documents etc. Should be promptly collected. Original vouchers or other papers forming the basis of the investigation should be kept under lock and key.

    2. All persons in the bank who may be knowing something about the time, place a modus operandi of the fraud should be examined and their statements should be recorded.

    3. The probable order of events should thereafter be reconstructed by the officer, in his own mind.

    4. It is advisable to keep the central office informed about the fraud and further developments in regard thereto.

    Classification of Frauds and Action Required by Banks

    The Reserve Bank of India had set-up a high level committee in 1992 which was headed by Mr. A… Ghosh, the then Dy. Governor Reserve Bank of India to inquire into various aspects relating to frauds malpractice in banks. The committee had noticed/observed three major causes for perpetration of fraud as given hereunder:

    1. Laxity in observance of the laid down system and procedures by operational and supervising staff.

    2. Over confidence reposed in the clients who indulged in breach of trust.

    3. Unscrupulous clients by taking advantages of the laxity in observance of established, time tested safeguards also committed frauds.

    In order to have uniformity in reporting cases of frauds, RBI considered the question of classification of bank frauds on the basis of the provisions of the IPC.
    Given below are the Provisions and their Remedial measures that can be taken.

    1. Cheating (Section 415, IPC)

    Remedial Measures.

    The preventive measures in respect of the cheating can be concentrated on cross-checking regarding identity, genuineness, verification of particulars, etc. in respect of various instruments as well as persons involved in encashment or dealing with the property of the bank.

    2. Criminal misappropriation of property (Section 403 IPC).

    Remedial Measure

    Criminal misappropriation of property, presuppose the custody or control of funds or property, so subjected, with that of the person committing such frauds. Preventive measures, for this class of fraud should be taken at the level the custody or control of the funds or property of the bank generally vests. Such a measure should be sufficient, it is extended to these persons who are actually handling or having actual custody or control of the fund or movable properties of the bank.

    3. Criminal breach of trust (Section 405, IPC)

    Remedial Measure

    Care should be taken from the initial step when a person comes to the bank. Care needs to be taken at the time of recruitment in bank as well.

    4. Forgery (Section 463, IPC)

    Remedial Measure

    Both the prevention and detection of frauds through forgery are important for a bank. Forgery of signatures is the most frequent fraud in banking business. The bank should take special care when the instrument has been presented either bearer or order; in case a bank pays forged instrument he would be liable for the loss to the genuine costumer.

    5. Falsification of accounts (Section 477A)

    Remedial Measure

    Proper diligence is required while filling of forms and accounts. The accounts should be rechecked on daily basis.

    6. Theft (Section 378, IPC)

    Remedial Measures

    Encashment of stolen’ cheque can be prevented if the bank clearly specify the age, sex and two visible identify action marks on the body of the person traveler’s cheques on the back of the cheque leaf. This will help the paying bank to easily identify the cheque holder. Theft from lockers and safe deposit vaults are not easy to commit because the master-key remains with the banker and the individual key of the locker is handed over to the costumer with due acknowledgement.

    7. Criminal conspiracy (Section 120 A, IPC)

    In the case of State of Andhra Pradesh v. IBS Prasad Rao and Other, the accused, who were clerks in a cooperative Central Bank were all convicted of the offences of cheating under Section 420 read along with Section 120 A. all the four accused had conspired together to defraud the bank by making false demand drafts and receipt vouchers.

    8. Offences relating to currency notes and banks notes (Section 489 A-489E, IPC)
    These sections provide for the protection of currency-notes and bank notes from forgery. The offences under section are:

    (a) Counterfeiting currency notes or banks.

    (b) Selling, buying or using as genuine, forged or counterfeit currency notes or bank notes. Knowing the same to be forged or counterfeit.

    (c) Possession of forged or counterfeit currency notes or bank-notes, knowing or counterfeit and intending to use the same as genuine.

    (d) Making or passing instruments or materials for forging or counterfeiting currency notes or banks.

    (e) Making or using documents resembling currency-notes or bank notes.

    Most of the above provisions are Cognizable Offenses under Section 2(c) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.

    FRAUD PRONE AREAS IN DIFFERENT ACCOUNTS

    The following are the potential fraud prone areas in Banking Sector. In addition to those areas I have also given kinds of fraud that are common in these areas.

    Savings Bank Accounts

    The following are some of the examples being played in respect of savings bank accounts:

    (a) Cheques bearing the forged signatures of depositors may be presented and paid.

    (b) Specimen signatures of the depositors may be changed, particularly after the death of depositors,

    (c) Dormant accounts may be operated by dishonest persons with or without collusion of bank employees, and

    (d) Unauthorized withdrawals from customer’s accounts by employee of the bank maintaining the savings ledger and later destruction of the recent vouchers by them.

    Current Account Fraud

    The following types are likely to be committed in case of current accounts.

    (a) Opening of frauds in the names of limited companies or firms by unauthorized persons;

    (b) Presentation and payment of cheques bearing forged signatures;

    (c) Breach of trust by the employees of the companies or firms possessing cheque leaves duly signed by the authorized signatures;

    (d) Fraudulent alteration of the amount of the cheques and getting it paid either at the counter or though another bank.

    Frauds In Case Of Advances

    Following types may be committed in respect of advances:

    (a) Spurious gold ornaments may be pledged.

    (b) Sub-standard goods may be pledged with the bank or their value may be shown at inflated figures.
    (c) Same goods may be hypothecated in favour of different banks.

    LEGAL REGIME TO CONTROL BANK FRAUDS

    Frauds constitute white-collar crime, committed by unscrupulous persons deftly advantage of loopholes existing in systems/procedures. The ideal situation is one there is no fraud, but taking ground realities of the nation’s environment and human nature’s fragility, an institution should always like to keep the overreach of frauds at the minimum occurrence level.

    Following are the relevant sections relating to Bank Frauds

    Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860)

    (a) Section 23 “Wrongful gain”.-

    “Wrongful gain” is gain by unlawful means of property to which the person gaining is not legally entitled.

    (b) “Wrongful loss”

    “Wrongful loss” is the loss by unlawful means of property to which the person losing it is legally entitled.
    (c) Gaining wrongfully.

    Losing wrongfully-A person is said to gain wrongfully when such person retains wrongfully, as well as when such person acquires wrongfully. A person is said to lose wrongfully when such person is wrongfully kept out of any property, as well as when such person is wrongfully deprived of property.

    (d) Section 24. “Dishonestly”

    Whoever does anything with the intention of causing wrongful gain to one person or wrongful loss to another person, is said to do that thing “dishonestly”.

    (e) Section 28. “Counterfeit”

    A person is said to “counterfeit” who causes one thing to resemble another thing, intending by means of that resemblance to practice deception, or knowing it to be likely that deception will thereby be practiced.

    BREACH OF TRUST

    1. Section 408- Criminal breach of trust by clerk or servant.

    2. Section 409- Criminal breach of trust by public servant, or by banker, merchant or agent.

    3. Section 416- Cheating by personating

    4. Section 419- Punishment for cheating by personation.

    OFFENSES RELATING TO DOCUMENTS

    1) Section 463-Forgery

    2) Section 464 -Making a false document

    3) Section 465- Punishment for forgery.

    4) Section 467- Forgery of valuable security, will, etc

    5) Section 468- Forgery for purpose of cheating

    6) Section 469- Forgery for purpose of harming reputation

    7) Section 470- Forged document.

    8) Section 471- Using as genuine a forged document

    9) Section 477- Fraudulent cancellation, destruction, etc., of will, authority to adopt, or valuable security.

    10) Section 477A- Falsification of accounts.

    THE RESERVE BANK OF INDIA ACT, 1934

    Issue of demand bills and notes Section 31.

    Provides that only Bank and except provided by Central Government shall be authorized to draw, accept, make or issue any bill of exchange, hundi, promissory note or engagement for the payment of money payable to bearer on demand, or borrow, owe or take up any sum or sums of money on the bills, hundis or notes payable to bearer on demand of any such person

    THE NEGOTIABLE INSTRUMENTS ACT, 1881

    Holder’s right to duplicate of lost bill Section 45A.

    1. The finder of lost bill or note acquires no title to it. The title remains with the true owner. He is entitled to recover from the true owner.

    2. If the finder obtains payment on a lost bill or note in due course, the payee may be able to get a valid discharge for it. But the true owner can recover the money due on the instrument as damages from the finder.

    Section 58

    When an Instrument is obtained by unlawful means or for unlawful consideration no possessor or endorse who claims through the person who found or so obtained the instrument is entitled to receive the amount due thereon from such maker, accept or holder, or from any party prior to such holder, unless such possessor or endorse is, or some person through whom he claims was, a holder thereof in due course.

    Section 85:

    Cheque payable to order.

    1. By this section, bankers are placed in privileged position. It provides that if an order cheque is endorsed by or on behalf of the payee, and the banker on whom it is drawn pays it in due course, the banker is discharged. He can debit his customer with the amount so paid, though the endorsement of the payee might turn out to be a forgery.

    2. The claim protection under this section the banker has to prove that the payment was a payment in due course, in good faith and without negligence.

    Section 87. Effect of material alteration

    Under this section any alteration made without the consent of party would be void. Alteration would be valid only if is made with common intention of the party.

    Section 138. Dishonour of cheque for insufficiency, etc., of funds in the account.

    Where any cheque drawn by a person on an account maintained by him with a banker for payment of any amount of money to another person from out of that account for the discharge, in whole or in part, of any debt or other liability, is returned by the bank unpaid. either because of the amount of money standing to the credit of that account is insufficient to honor the cheque or that it exceeds the amount arranged to be paid from that account by an agreement made with that bank, such person shall be deemed to have committed an offense and shall, without prejudice.

    Section 141(1) Offenses by companies.

    If the person committing an offense under Section 138 is a company, every person who, at the time the offense was committed, was in charge of, and was responsible to, the company for the conduct of the business of the company, as well as the company, shall be deemed to be guilty of the offense and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly.

    SECURITY REGIME IN BANKING SYSTEM

    Security implies sense of safety and of freedom from danger or anxiety. When a banker takes a collateral security, say in the form of gold or a title deed, against the money lent by him, he has a sense of safety and of freedom from anxiety about the possible non-payment of the loan by the borrower. These should be communicated to all strata of the organization through appropriate means. Before staff managers should analyze current practices. Security procedure should be stated explicitly and agreed upon by each user in the specific environment. Such practices ensure information security and enhance availability. Bank security is essentially a defense against unforced attacks by thieves, dacoits and burglars.

    PHYSICAL SECURITY MEASURES-CONCEPT

    A large part of banks security depends on social security measures. Physical security measures can be defined as those specific and special protective or defensive measures adopted to deter, detect, delay, defend and defeat or to perform any one or more of these functions against culpable acts, both covert and covert and acclamation natural events. The protective or defensive, measures adopted involve construction, installation and deployment of structures, equipment and persons respectively.

    The following are few guidelines to check malpractices:

    1. To rotate the cash work within the staff.

    2. One person should not continue on the same seat for more than two months.

    3. Daybook should not be written by the Cashier where an other person is available to the job

    4. No cash withdrawal should be allowed within passbook in case of withdrawal by pay order.

    5. The branch manager should ensure that all staff members have recorder their presence in the attendance registrar, before starting work.

    Execution of Documents

    1. A bank officer must adopt a strict professional approach in the execution of documents. The ink and the pen used for the execution must be maintained uniformly.

    2. Bank documents should not be typed on a typewriter for execution. These should be invariably handwritten for execution.

    3. The execution should always be done in the presence of the officer responsible for obtain them,
    4. The borrowers should be asked to sign in full signatures in same style throughout the documents.

    5. Unless there is a specific requirement in the document, it should not be got attested or witnessed as such attestation may change the character of the instruments and the documents may subject to ad volrem stamp duty.

    6. The paper on which the bank documents are made should be pilfer proof. It should be unique and available to the banks only.

    7. The printing of the bank documents should have highly artistic intricate and complex graphics.

    8. The documents executed between Banker and Borrowers must be kept in safe custody,

    CHANGES IN LEGISLATION AFTER ELECTRONIC TRANSACTIONS

    1. Section 91 of IPC shall be amended to include electronic documents also.

    2. Section 92 of Indian Evidence Act, 1872 shall be amended to include commuter based communications

    3. Section 93 of Bankers Book Evidence Act, 1891 has been amended to give legal sanctity for books of account maintained in the electronic form by the banks.

    4. Section 94 of the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1939 shall be amended to facilitate electronic fund transfers between the financial institutions and the banks. A new clause (pp) has been inserted in Section 58(2).

    RECENT TRENDS OF BANKING SYSTEM IN INDIA

    In the banking and financial sectors, the introduction of electronic technology for transactions, settlement of accounts, book-keeping and all other related functions is now an imperative. Increasingly, whether we like it or not, all banking transactions are going to be electronic. The thrust is on commercially important centers, which account for 65 percent of banking business in terms of value. There are now a large number of fully computerized branches across the country.

    A switchover from cash-based transactions to paper-based transactions is being accelerated. Magnetic Ink character recognition clearing of cheques is now operational in many cities, beside the four metro cities. In India, the design, management and regulation of electronically-based payments system are becoming the focus of policy deliberations. The imperatives of developing an effective, efficient and speedy payment and settlement systems are getting sharper with introduction of new instruments such as credit cards, telebanking, ATMs, retail Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) and Electronic Clearing Services (ECS). We are moving towards smart cards, credit and financial Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) for straight through processing.

    Financial Fraud (Investigation, Prosecution, Recovery and Restoration of property) Bill, 2001

    Further the Financial Fraud (Investigation, Prosecution, Recovery and Restoration of property) Bill, 2001 was introduced in Parliament to curb the menace of Bank Fraud. The Act was to prohibit, control, investigate financial frauds; recover and restore properties subject to such fraud; prosecute for causing financial fraud and matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

    Under the said act the term Financial Fraud has been defined as under:

    Section 512 – Financial Fraud

    Financial frauds means and includes any of the following acts committed by a person or with his connivance, or by his agent, in his dealings with any bank or financial institution or any other entity holding public funds;

    1. The suggestion, as a fact, of that which is not true, by one who does not believe it to be true;

    2. The active concealment of a fact by one having knowledge or belief of the fact;

    3. A promise made with out any intention of performing it;

    4. Any other act fitted to deceive;

    5. Any such act or omission as the law specially declares to be fraudulent.
    Provided that whoever acquires, possesses or transfers any proceeds of financial fraud or enters into any transaction which is related to proceeds of fraud either directly or indirectly or conceals or aids in the concealment of the proceeds of financial fraud, commits financial fraud.

    513(a) – Punishment for Financial Fraud

    Whoever commits financial fraud shall be: (a) Punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term, which may extend to seven years and shall also be liable to fine.

    (b)Whoever commits serious financial fraud shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which may extend to ten years but shall not be less than five years and shall also be liable for fine up to double the amount involved in such fraud.

    Provided that in both (a) and (b) all funds, bank accounts and properties acquired using such funds subjected to the financial fraud as may reasonably be attributed by the investigating agency shall be recovered and restored to the rightful owner according to the procedure established by law.

    CONCLUSION

    The Indian Banking Industry has undergone tremendous growth since nationalization of 14 banks in the year 1969. There has an almost eight times increase in the bank branches from about 8000 during 1969 to mote than 60,000 belonging to 289 commercial banks, of which 66 banks are in private sector.

    It was the result of two successive Committees on Computerization (Rangarajan Committee) that set the tone for computerization in India. While the first committee drew the blue print in 1983-84 for the mechanization and computerization in banking industry, the second committee set up in 1989 paved the way for integrated use of telecommunications and computers for applying technogical breakthroughs in banking sector.

    However, with the spread of banking and banks, frauds have been on a constant increase. It could be a natural corollary to increase in the number of customers who are using banks these days. In the year 2000 alone we have lost Rs 673 crores in as many as 3,072 number of fraud cases. These are only reported figures. Though, this is 0.075% of Rs 8,96,696 crores of total deposits and 0.15% of Rs 4,44,125 crores of loans & advances, there are any numbers of cases that are not reported. There were nearly 65,800 bank branches of a total of 295 commercial banks in India as on June 30, 2001 reporting a total of nearly 3,072 bank fraud cases. This makes nearly 10.4 frauds per bank and roughly 0.47 frauds per branch.

    An Expert Committee on Bank Frauds (Chairman: Dr.N.L.Mitra) submitted its Report to RBI in September 2001. The Committee examined and suggested both the preventive and curative aspects of bank frauds.

    The important recommendations of the Committee include:

    o A need for including financial fraud as a criminal offense;

    o Amendments to the IPC by including a new chapter on financial fraud;

    o Amendments to the Evidence Act to shift the burden of proof on the accused person;

    o Special provision in the Cr. PC for properties involved in the Financial Fraud.

    o Confiscating unlawful gains; and preventive measures including the development of Best Code Procedures by banks and financial institutions.

    Thus it can be concluded that following measures should necessarily be adopted by the Ministry of Finance in order to reduce cases of Fraud.

    o There must be a Special Court to try financial fraud cases of serious nature.

    o The law should provide separate structural and recovery procedure. Every bank must have a domestic inquiry officer to enquirer about the civil dimension of fraud.

    o A fraud involving an amount of ten crore of rupees and above may be considered serious and be tried in the Special Court.

    The Twenty-ninth Report of the Law Commission had dealt some categories of crimes one of which is “offenses calculated to prevent and obstruct the economic development of the country and endanger its economic health.” Offenses relating to Banking Fraud will fall under this category. The most important feature of such offenses is that ordinarily they do not involve an individual direct victim. They are punishable because they harm the whole society. It is clear that money involved in Bank belongs to public. They deposit there whole life’ security in Banks and in case of Dacoity or Robbery in banks the public will be al lost. Thus it is important that sufficient efforts should be taken in this regard.

    There exists a new kind of threat in cyber world. Writers are referring it as “Salami Attack” under this a special software is used for transferring the amount from the account of the individual. Hence the culprits of such crimes should be found quickly and should be given strict punishment. Moreover there is requirement of more number of IT professionals who will help in finding a solution against all these security threats.

    ENTREPRENEURIAL CHALLENGES – The Case of Royal Bank Zimbabwe Ltd

    Industry Shake-up

    In December 2003 Mzwimbi went on a well deserved family vacation to the United States, satisfied with the progress and confident that his sprawling empire was on a solid footing. However a call from a business magnate in January 2004 alerted him to what was termed a looming shake- up in the financial services sector. It appears that the incoming governor had confided in a few close colleagues and acquaintances about his plans. This confirmed to Mzwimbi the fears that were arising as RBZ refused to accommodate banks which had liquidity challenges.

    The last two months of 2003 saw interest rates soar close to 900% p.a., with the RBZ watching helplessly. The RBZ had the tools and capacity to control these rates but nothing was done to ease the situation. This hiking of interest rates wiped out nearly all the bank’s income made within the year. Bankers normally rely on treasury bills (TBs) since they are easily tradable. Their yield had been good until the interest rates skyrocketed. Consequently bankers were now borrowing at higher interest rates than the treasury bills could cover. Bankers were put in the uncomfortable position of borrowing expensive money and on-lending it cheaply. An example at Royal Bank was an entrepreneur who borrowed $120 million in December 2003, which by March 2004 had ballooned to $500 million due to the excessive rates. Although the cost of funds was now at 900% p.a., Royal Bank had just increased its interest rates to only 400% p.a, meaning that it was funding the client’s shortfall. However this client could not pay it and just returned the $120 million and demonstrated that he had no capacity to pay back the $400 million interest charge. Most bankers accepted this anomaly because they thought it was a temporary dysfunction perpetuated by the inability of an acting governor to make bold decisions. Bankers believed that once a substantive governor was sworn in he would control the interest rates. Much to their dismay, on assuming the governorship Dr. Gono left the rates untamed and hence the situation worsened. This scenario continued up to August 2004, causing considerable strain on entrepreneurial bankers.

    On reflection, some bankers feel that the central bank deliberately hiked the interest rates, as this would allow it to restructure the financial services sector. They argue that during the cash crisis of the last half of 2003, bank CEOs would meet often with the RBZ in an effort to find solutions to the crisis. Retrospectively they claim that there is evidence indicating that the current governor though not appointed yet was already in control of the RBZ operations during that time period and was thus responsible for the untenable interest rate regime.

    In January 2004, after his vacation, Mzwimbi was informed by the RBZ that Royal had been accommodated for $2 billion on the 28th of December 2003. The Central Bank wanted to know whether this accommodation should be formalized and placed into the newly created Troubled Bank Fund. However, this was expensive money both in terms of the interest rates and also in terms of the conditions and terms of the loan. At Trust Bank, access to this facility had already given the Central Bank the right to force out the top executives, restructure the Board and virtually take over the management of the bank.

    Royal Bank turned down the offer and used deposits to pay off the money. However the interest rates did not come down.

    During the first quarter of 2004 Trust Bank, Barbican bank and Inter-market Bank were identified as distressed and put under severe corrective orders by the Central Bank.

    Royal Assault

    Royal Bank remained stable until March 2004. People who had their funds locked up in Inter-market Bank withdrew huge sums of funds from Royal Bank while others were moving to foreign owned banks as the perception created by Central Bank was read by the market to mean that entrepreneurial bankers were fraudsters.

    Others withdrew their money on the basis that if financial behemoths like Intermarket can sink, then it could happen to any other indigenous controlled bank. Royal Bank had an advantage that in the smaller towns it was the only bank, so people had no choice. However even in this scenario there were no stable deposits as people kept their funds moving to avoid being caught unawares. For example in one week Royal Bank had withdrawals of over $40 billion but weathered the storm without recourse to Central Bank accommodation.

    At this time, newspaper reports indicating some leakage of confidential information started appearing. When confronted, one public paper reporter confided that the information was being supplied to them by the Central Bank. These reports were aimed at causing panic withdrawals and hence exposing banks to depositor flight.

    Statutory Reserves

    In March 2004, at the point of significant vulnerability, Royal Bank received a letter from RBZ cancelling the exemption from statutory reserve requirements. Statutory reserves are funds, (making up a certain percentage of their total deposits), banks are required to deposit with the Central Bank, at no interest.

    When Royal Bank began operations, Mzwimbi applied to the Central Bank – then under Dr Tsumba, for foreign currency to pay for supplies, software and technology infrastructure. No foreign currency could be availed but instead Royal Bank was exempted from paying statutory reserves for one year, thus releasing funds which Royal could use to acquire foreign currency and purchase the needed resources. This was a normal procedure and practice of the Central Bank, which had been made available to other banking institutions as well. This would also enhance the bank’s liquidity position.

    Even investors are sometimes offered tax exemptions to encourage and promote investments in any industry. This exemption was delayed due to bungling in the Banking Supervision and Surveillance Department of the RBZ and was thus only implemented a year later, consequently it would run from May 2003 until May 2004. The premature cancellation of this exemption caught Royal Bank by surprise as its cash flow projections had been based on these commencing in May 2004.

    When the RBZ insisted, Royal Bank calculated the statutory reserves and noted that, due to a decline in its deposits, it was not eligible for the payment of statutory reserves at that time. When the bank submitted its returns with zero statutory reserves, the Central Bank claimed that the bank was now due for the whole statutory reserve since inception. In effect this was not being treated as a statutory reserve exemption but more as a penalty for evading statutory reserves. Royal Bank appealed. There were conflicting opinions between the Bank Supervision and Capital Markets divisions on the issue as Bank Supervision conceded to the validity of Royal’s position. However Capital Markets insisted that it had instructions from the top to recall the full amount of $23 billion. This was forced onto Royal Bank and transferred without consent to the Troubled Banks Fund at exorbitant rates of 450% p. a.

    FML Saga

    When FML was demutualising, the executives were concerned about the possibility of being swallowed by its huge strategic partner, Trust Holdings. FML approached Royal Bank and other banks to act as buffers. The agreement was that FML would fund the deal by placing funds with Royal Bank so that Royal would not fund it from its balance sheet.

    Consequently FML would leave the deposits with Royal Bank for the tenor of the loan. The deal was consummated through Regal Asset Managers and was to mature in December 2004, at which time it was anticipated that the share price of First Mutual would have blossomed, allowing Royal Bank to harvest its investment and exit profitably. The deal resulted in Regal Asset Managers owning 57 million FML shares. Royal Bank gave FML some securities in the form of treasury bills as collateral for the deposit.

    The Reserve Bank and the curator wrote off this investment because at that time FML was suspended at the ZSE. However the fact that it was suspended did not invalidate its value. Recent events have shown that this investment has generated huge capital value for Regal Asset Managers as the ZSE rebounded. Yet the curator valued this investment negatively. Around March 2004 there had been a contagion effect at FML due to the challenges at Trust Bank. This resulted in the forced departure of the FML CEO and chairman. FML was suspended from the local bourse as investigations into the financing structure of Capital Alliance’s acquisition were carried out. Because of the pressure brought to bear on FML, it wanted to withdraw the deposits held by Royal Bank, contrary to the agreement. FML could not locate and return the treasury bills that had been provided as collateral by Royal. Royal Bank suspected that these had been placed with ENG, another asset management company which collapsed in December 2003. A public row broke out. Royal Bank executives sought counsel from Renaissance Merchant Bank, which had brokered the deal, and the Chairman of the ZSE, who both agreed with Royal that the deal was legitimate and FML had to honour the agreement. At this stage FML sought court intervention in an attempt to force Royal Bank into liquidation. Even the curator contested the FML position resulting in his taking it for arbitration. Royal’s position remained that if FML fails to return the securities then it will not get the funds.

    Royal bank directors claimed political interference on the issue. The Royal Bank executives believe that the governor, against his better judgment, decided to act against Royal Bank under the pretext of the political pressure. In retrospect, the political support for cracking the whip at Royal gave credence to the rumour that the governor had an underlying agenda in taking Royal and merging it into ZABG because of its strong branch network.

    Royal Bank had been warned by friendly RBZ insiders that if it ever accessed the Troubled Bank Fund it would be in trouble, so it sought to avoid this at all costs.

    However on 4th August 2004, Royal was served with papers that effectively placed it under the curator. Interestingly, the curator’s contract was signed two days earlier. Until this time no depositor had ever failed to withdraw his deposits from Royal Bank.

    The lack of credibility of the Reserve Bank in handling this case is exposed when one considers that some banks were given more than eight months to stabilize under curators, e.g. Intermarket and CFX Banks, and were able to recover. But Royal and Trust Bank were under the curator for less than two months before being amalgamated. The press raised concerns about the curators assuming the role of undertaker rather than nurse, and hence burying these banks.This seemed to confirm the possibility of a hidden agenda on the part of the Central Bank.

    Victor Chando

    Chando was an excellent financial engineer who set up Victory Financial Services after a stint with MBCA. He had been the brains behind the setting up of the predecessor of Century Discount House which he later sold to Century Holdings. Royal Bank initially had an interest in discount houses and so at inception had included Victor as a significant shareholder. He later acquired Barnfords Securities which Royal intended to bring in-house.

    Victory Financial Services was involved in foreign currency dealings, using offshore companies that bought free funds from Zimbabweans abroad and purchased raw materials for Zimbabwean corporations. One such deal with National Foods went sour and the MD reported it to the Central Bank. On investigations the deal was found to be clean but the RBZ went ahead to publish that he was involved in illegal foreign currency transactions and linked this to Royal Bank. However this was a transaction done by a shareholder as an account holder, in which the bank had no interest. What confused matters, was that Victory Financial Services was housed in the same building as Royal Bank.

    After failing to nail Chando to any criminal charges, the Central Bank issued an order for Royal Bank to force him out as a shareholder and board member. It is ridiculous that the Central Bank would vet who is a shareholder or not in banks – particularly when the people had no criminal records.

    Negotiations with OPEC were underway for it to take over Chando’s shareholding. The Reserve Bank was aware of these developments. OPEC would then help in the recapitalization as well as open up lines of credit for the bank.

    The Arrest

    In September 2004 the executive directors of Royal Bank, Mzwimbi and Durajadi, were arrested on five allegations of fraudulently prejudicing the bank. One of the charges was that they fraudulently used depositors’ funds to recapitalize the bank.

    Three of the charges after police investigations were dropped, as they were not true. The two remaining charges were:

    a) a conflict of interest on loans that were made available to the directors. The RBZ alleges that they did not disclose their interests when companies controlled by them accessed loans at concessionary rates from the bank. However the enterprising bankers dispute these charges, as they claim the Board minutes prove that this interest was disclosed. Even the annual financial statements of the bank acknowledge that they accessed loans as part of their employment contract with the bank.

    b) money was owed to Finsreal Asset Management. However Mzwimbi argues that Finsreal actually owes them money and not the other way round. Royal Bank shareholders needed to inject money for recapitalization of the bank and were requested to deposit their funds with Finsreal Asset Management. Since some had not paid their portion of the recapitalization by the due date, Royal Financial Holdings, which had an account with Finsreal, paid the money on behalf of the shareholders – who were then indebted to Royal Financial Holdings. Somehow the RBZ confused this transaction as the bank’s funds and therefore accused the

    shareholders of using depositors’ funds to recapitalize.

    By retrospectively analyzing the court case wherein the Royal Bank executive directors are accused of defrauding the bank it appears that the RBZ created a falsehood in order to frustrate the bankers. The curator who initially refused to take a stand before the RBZ appointed Independent Appeal, has in court clearly testified that no monies were stolen from the bank by the directors and that the curator did not (contrary to RBZ assertions) recommend charges against the bankers. In January 2007 the former executive directors of Royal Bank were acquitted by the High Court on the remaining criminal charges after the prosecution failed to present a convincing argument.

    Royal Bank assets were sold by the curator to ZABG barely two months after being placed under the curator, without any audited financial statements. The speed at which an agreement of sale was reached is astonishing. The owners of Royal Bank went to court and, after a protracted legal struggle, the court ruled that the assets were sold illegally and hence the sale was “illegal and of no force or effect and therefore null and void”. The court then directed that the owners should appeal to the Central Bank for a determination of the actions of the curators. The Central Bank begrudgingly set up an “independent panel” to adjudicate the case. Strangely ZABG continued to trade on the illegal assets.

    The panel advised that the appeal by Royal bank be rejected as it would be difficult to disentangle it from ZABG. They also cited the fact that ZABG had some contractual obligations with third parties who may not want to do business with Royal bank. This strange ruling fails to explain why these considerations were not made when the amalgamation was done. The ruling also redefined the agreements between the curator of Royal bank and ZABG as not being an “agreement of sale” even though the parties which entered into the agreement clearly intended it to be viewed as such. This was a way of circumventing the Supreme Court ruling that the agreement of sale was null and void.

    But the panel did not explain how this disposal of the assets should be considered if it was not a sale.

    Consequently the major shareholders of Royal appealed to the Minister of Finance who upheld the RBZ decision. Mzwimbi and his colleagues have therefore appealed to the courts. In the meanwhile there was a failed attempt to sell the disputed assets by ZABG despite the outstanding legal challenge. Just ice delayed is justice denied.

    Mzwimbi and his team have been denied access to all bank records and yet are expected to defend themselves. As he characteristically puts it, “We are going into this fight blind folded and our hands bound, while fighting someone who has armour and a sword.”

    The Critical Stage of CNBC Fast Money

    This is a critical time for CNBC Fast Money with initial tests being conducted. It was noted that the CNBC rating has plummeted in the past years as cynical stock traders tried to escape the slowly crumbling industry. However, CNBC executives believe that the market is reviving to its old glory, even with the verge of new competition. How can we say that this US financial investing TV programis profitable?

    Even though CNBC ratings might have been suffering from negatives, the network is still in high-revenue tier. Take note of its pretax income of about $ 270 million. With the US reserves and economic monitoring will continue to be the meat of financial talk shows, which is really the nature of the network’s plan to entice its viewers. However, this financial TV program is seen to be more appealing to a more natural type of consumerists or those traders who doesn’t give so much fuss about the weak points but just want to try venturing out with stocks and try to be rich. Is stock-picking important to CNBC?

    The answer is yes. The kind of stock-picking in CNBC Fast Money is quite sensitive. In the past trading years in 1990s, CNBC received criticisms for including too many members in the panel who sometimes crazily peddling on stocks even without careful analysis. But CNBC defended that they had found a way to offer new responsible programs. However, the primary idea of the show will still revolve around turning money in the shortest period of time. What are expected changes in CNBC Fast Money?

    Since news and analysis on financial trends have turned into measly commodity of the financial world, the network has to consider presenting news and financial information in the most innovative way without compromising responsible programming. The executive producers also want to include cultural relevancy on the program by providing access to the viewers and teaching them how to use such information for their stock trading. How could this happen?

    Perhaps the secret of CNBC Fast Money is to widen its appeal without compromising its reputation among its advertisers. The network targets Class A and B market to maintain its standing as a major player in the business world. Fast Money TV program is indeed a primary network asset of CNBC. However, programming is in constant change with new ideas cropping up to develop the program and to implement changes. Talk shows and late night shows could be a challenge yet Fast Money is still a major TV phenomenon.

    Law Enforcement Information

    Law enforcement are members of different agencies who are committed to upholding and enforcing the laws we live by. Some members work in local settings, while others work to enforce national laws. Often, the workers are a big component in punishing and convicting those who commit a crime. They work day-in and day-out to ensure that the streets are safe and the criminals are put behind bars.

    There are generally two goals that law enforcement officials are seeking: prevention and enforcement. The first goal, prevention, can be particularly difficult. Officials must work extremely hard to prevent occurrences of crimes. For instance, police officers will regularly patrol an area in an attempt to keep crime from happening there. They make their presence known. In a way it is a message to criminals that lets them know they are being watched and criminal behavior will not be tolerated. The second goal, enforcement, can also be just as difficult. Officials have the unique assignment to punish people for committing a crime. They must assign a form of punishment that fits the crime. Not only that, but must also seek rehabilitation for the criminal whenever possible.

    Today, law enforcement jobs can be found on all kinds of levels. For example, there are local police throughout the nation. They are there to protect the rights of citizens in specified jurisdictions. Then, there are states and federal law professionals. These professionals work to apprehend suspects after they find sufficient evidence of wrongdoing. The Federal Bureau of Investigation, for instance, is a federal agency. They have enforcement officials who work to enforce federal laws. Members of state and federal penal systems are also considered law enforcement officials. They manage different aspects of containment and punishment of criminals. Along with that, other law enforcement professionals include: probation officers, judges, and district attorneys.

    Although law enforcement is a broad term, everyone working in it is working towards the same goal. They work to enforce laws, protect the people, and prevent crime. There are officials all over the world that are performing duties that range from trainee to advanced enforcement. Some might be investigators, while others are managers or directors. Despite their positions, they are still required to work within their jurisdictions, the rules of their job, and the law. Not only are citizens required to follow the law, but law enforcement officials must follow the rules too.

    Finding Your Own Fashion Style

    In a world extraordinarily focused on outward appearance, we need only to open a magazine or turn on our televisions to see the latest and greatest fashion trend; it walks the red carpet, checks out a movie premier, and heads out nightly to the hottest restaurants. And we, as a society always mindful of what’s popular, follows dutifully along, eager to purchase the “must have” item of the season. But, ultimately, the fashion style that works best for us is that which looks good on our particular body and reflects our very individual personality.

    As anyone who follows the fashion industry will tell you, trends come and go. What is one year’s hot item is the next season’s fashion “don’t.” Designers present their newest lines and before you know it stores are carrying these clothes in every conceivable variation. And then, just as quickly, they’re gone. It’s almost impossible to keep pace. Luckily, the fashion style that makes the most sense on an individual level is the fashion style that reflects who we are as people; and that never goes out of style.

    The most important thing to remember is that just because a particular fashion style is popular at the moment does not mean that it will look good on your particular body. Wearing something just for the sake of wearing it ultimately goes against the principles of fashion. A fashion style that you choose to wear should be something that accentuates your positives, downplays your negatives, and complements the overall line of your body.

    Take the time to get to know your body and what styles work best with it. Assess your body objectively; if you have trouble spots, look for cuts and fabrics that camouflage what you need them to camouflage; if you are on the shorter side, look for a fashion style that elongates your body; and always choose colors that complement your skin tone.

    Once you find a style that works – stick with it and add your personal touches to reflect your personality; that is the best fashion style you can possibly wear.

    Building the Professional Library Infrastructure in Sierra Leone

    Introduction

    Developing countries are characterized in one way by shrinking economies. Sierra Leone is one such country that despite government and donor support, education has been a major challenge. The situation has been worsened, due to the fact that libraries have been neglected. According to the African Development Bank (ADB) Sierra Leone Country Office (2011), the total funds provided for education by the ADB/ADF finances up to 2010, was about US$ 22 million. The project supported the construction of Ninety Eight (98) primary schools, Fifty Four (54) Junior Secondary Schools (JSS), Eight (8) Vocational Skills Training Centres and Twelve (12) duplex housing blocks for teachers. The project also provided training for Four Thousand and Fifty (4,050) teachers. Teacher manuals were also made available. However, nothing was ever made available for library development. This neglect of libraries, means that libraries in Sierra Leone with limited resources, have to work together in order to meet the information needs of their users. One library may not be able to effectively and suitably meet the information needs of all its users. Library cooperation is therefore, urgently needed.

    Library Scene in Sierra Leone

    The country has all the different types of libraries; they range from public, academic, special to school libraries. In addition to these are information and resource or documentation centres that provide library and information services. Furthermore, there are museums, such as the National and the Peace Museums, and the National Archive which also provide information services.

    However, the Sierra Leone Library Board (SLLB) which was established by an Act of Parliament in 1959 serves as the domain of the provision of library and information services in the country. It functions as both the National and a Public library. To date it has a Central library and headquarters located in Freetown, Regional branches in Provincial headquarter towns, and branches in all District towns, totaling twenty one (21) libraries [One (1) central and headquarter library, three (3) regional libraries, sixteen (16) branch libraries, and two (2) sub-branches].

    Libraries in Sierra Leone are therefore, institutions for the storage and dissemination of information; are for users; they provide users with guides and other finding lists; they provide adequate access to the documents or records users may wish to consult; they have subject arrangement; and they are cost-effective.

    Library Cooperation

    The term cooperation describes the joint action of two or more parties for mutual benefit. Library cooperation means exchanging cataloguing records, building complementary collections, exchanging library materials by inter-library loan and document delivery service, joint purchasing of library materials or automated system, providing services to each others’ users. Library cooperation is also described as an agreement, combination, or group of libraries formed to undertake an enterprise beyond the resources of any one member.

    There are different types of cooperative activities and some of the most popular activities are reciprocal borrowing, union catalogues or lists, photocopying services, cooperative reference service, delivery services, cooperative acquisition arrangements, subject specialization in collection development, centralized cataloguing and card production, as well as central storage of materials.

    Burgett, Harr and Phillips (2004) asserted that there is evidence that cooperation among libraries to share resources goes back to a long way, at least to the first half of the 13th century, when monasteries developed what we would today recognize as union catalogs of manuscripts to aid in their scholarly activities. Musana (1991) indicated that information resource sharing has been in existence as long as libraries and other types of information services. The existence of a library is itself a form of cooperation. Many libraries came into existence because a group of individuals with a common desire and aspiration wanted to put a collection of materials together for use by the group members. Historically, the driving force behind the evolution of resource sharing concept was the desire to satisfy the felt needs of the user population. Earlier, each library was an entity, serving or trying to serve the needs of its own users and purchasing materials to meet their primary needs.

    Beenham and Harrison (1990) however noted that a combination of circumstances made it increasingly difficult for an individual library to be self-sufficient. These circumstances include:

    a tremendous increase in knowledge and a corresponding growth in publishing;

    the spread of education from primary to university level which lead to greater and more diverse demands on the public library services by a much more literate public;

    the advance of technology with its effect on industry and commerce and the necessity for employers and employees to develop new skills and techniques; and

    increased opportunities for travel and international economic cooperation, which demand up-to-date information about foreign countries.

    Existing Library Cooperation in Sierra Leone

    There has been increased pressure for libraries in Sierra Leone to cooperate, including plans to create networks thereby making way for resources to be available to users. As such what has obtained is as follows:

    Lending of materials – libraries lend materials to each other officially and unofficially to help their users;

    Donations – large libraries donate to smaller libraries materials mostly books for their users;

    Photocopying – these are available in most libraries. The lending library will copy the needed material and send a copy to the requesting library without having to send the original;

    Exchange of cataloguing data – cataloguing data is given to other libraries. The Sierra Leone Library Board (SLLB) provides its data to school libraries that cannot do this technical work properly.

    There have been some benefits with these kinds of cooperation existing in the country:

    Availability and access to information – there has been significant reach to information by users, since other libraries’ resources can be tapped from;

    Lower cost – funds are saved due mainly to the fact that some expensive materials are not purchased as long as they are accessed in another library;

    Experience sharing – the exchanging of staff and information provides a platform for learning from each other, especially with cataloguing data; and

    Collection development – each library tends to build its collection to the maximum point, narrowing the focus, and at the end building a strong collection.

    Notwithstanding, the real benefits that such cooperation should bring about have not been fully realized. Thus, there are certain steps that libraries should take to make this workable.

    Building the Infrastructure of Cooperation

    The following are essential steps to be taken into account for an efficient cooperation between libraries in Sierra Leone if significant achievements are to be made.

    Ensure common understanding and trust. There must be an established better working relationship among and between libraries where common understanding and trust are built up. A continued interaction and exposure of one another resources must be maintained. This can be done by sharing of expertise and experience, signing of Memoranda of Understanding, dialogue to allay fears, and to respect what each party can offer. Exchange of staff if necessary must be done.

    Learn from advanced libraries. Furthermore, lessons can be learn from how other national and international cooperation is being conducted. Cooperation is not a day event but something that must be encouraged and built upon. There must be room for trial and error as well as correction of past mistakes.

    Management must provide the leadership. Each library management must take upon itself to lead the process successfully. There must be the political will and the willingness to share resources, as well as prioritizing the move towards cooperation. Management must be willing to make positive compromises to reach the desired goal.

    Networking and collaboration. The move towards cooperation should not be a one man show. Cooperation can consist of voluntary agreement among libraries, or it can be imposed on libraries by Library Laws or by responsible ministries that fund libraries. It is essential that the participant libraries be willing to work together towards common goals.

    Provision of funds. One of the benefits of cooperation is to save cost. However, every library must provide funds for the processes involved. This is particularly so for processing and technical services functions. These must be taken care by individual libraries. As such funding should be provided.

    State intervention. In the context of the developing countries state intervention would be called for to enable coordination of a nation’s total library and information resources and ensure adequate funding. This is particularly important given that on the whole libraries in Sierra Leone do not have large enough capital base of their own to invest in such equipment as computer hardware and software, and telecommunications. However, state control must not be allowed to exceed co-ordination as this may to some extent have an effect on the zeal, initiative and the goodwill of participating libraries, institutions and the individual professionals.

    The Challenges in Building the Infrastructure of Cooperation

    In spite of the benefits accrued in cooperation, there are real and perceived challenges, which, unless properly dealt with, could minimize the chances of even the best conceived scheme taking off. In Sierra Leone, these are:

    Overcoming the culture of hoarding – the culture of greed and selfishness that has eaten up the very fabric of society. This has affected even library practice. Libraries are to amass information for the general good of the society.

    Limited collections – where participating libraries have not built up their collection to a minimum standard to allow for exchange, they are to grow their collections to some measurable status to ensure fair participation.

    ICTs infrastructure – the marked lack of sufficient Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) is a worrisome issue for cooperation in this 21st century.
    Purchasing and installation of ICTs is very crucial, as well as the education and training of staffs for use.

    Staffing – some of the participating libraries have untrained and unqualified staff as a major obstacle. Also, most staff are concerned about their status, efficiency, job security, salaries, and autonomy or independence, and this has affected the synergy. If the fears of staff are to be dispelled through proper sensitization and education, capacity building also must be undertaken.

    Management – management must take decisive steps towards cooperation.

    In conclusion, information to libraries is as money to banks; it is an indispensable input in the development process of the nation. However, to be effective it has to be optimally available and accessible from every corner if possible. Library cooperation if properly planned and executed offers a solution to a lot of problems faced by libraries, librarians and other information professionals in developing countries as Sierra Leone. Valls (1983) has provided the last words, “cooperation between information centres and the co-ordination of efforts needed to efficiently share resources implies the existence of an infrastructure linking the centres to one another.” This library infrastructure must be built up as it would assist in fostering self-help, exchange information, change society, improve productivity and work life, and share resources.

    The Fashion Toast Of Hollywood

    There are some celebrities that always seem to impress us with their outfits. No matter the event they are attending they seem to make the best fashion choices that dazzle everybody on the red carpet.

    From their early childhood, we have seen them in various movies, the Olsen sisters have been a part of the celebrity fashion community for a very long time. Their fashion choices can be described as unique and daring. Nonetheless, this fashion style is what determined them to start their own fashion label and complete a book called “Influence” where they have described who are the designers that have influenced them in the course of time.

    Madonna is the queen on pop and also the queen of re-invention as she constantly adapts her style to the fashion trends. She made a big splash in the 80’s with her dyed hair, leather jackets and stockings. In the 90’s she shocked the world with her cone bras and flashes of her underwear and it seems that her fashion choices are endless. Her eldest daughter, “Lola” as she is known in the family, seems to have inherited her mother’s fashion style as she has launched her clothing line suggestively called Material Girl.

    We all know and love Carrie Bradshaw or her real life version, Sarah Jessica Parker. Every fashion magazine and fashion blog has talked about her and her fashion style. However, we have to admit that SJP does know a thing or two about fashion and her idea of keeping all the clothes from the show was brilliant!

    Another celebrity fashion addict is Gwen Stefani. Part rock star, part certified mummy, the blond plated singer started her own fashion line. The clothes that she designs have clear Indian and Chinese influences. She once said that both her and her mother used to saw their own clothes, so it seems that the fashion line was in the cards for a long time.

    Fashion is something that is clearly relative as fashion trends change each year. You should build your wardrobe according to your taste and your personality and remember that “Fashion is not a luxury it is a right” (SJP).

    Home Furniture Store – Launch New Range of Modern American Furniture

    In this high tech modern lifestyle where everything is automated for easier access why would the furniture world be left behind in serving their customers with quality home and office which provides comforts at its best? Keeping in mind the needs of the customers and aiming at providing them with designs which are chic, comfortable and affordable, the new range of modern American Furniture for home and home office has been launched. With the evolution in lifestyles we follow today, the top manufacturers, understanding the modern needs of every house owners, have come up with modern styles and designs which can offer the customers anything within their budget.

    When we are to set up a new home we definitely want to make it special. A lot of efforts go in buying a new home and it demands even more efforts later while settling in. When we talk about buying our basic needs for the house we first think of modern furnishings. Quality is not difficult to be found in stores. But they are restricted to particular style and design and fail to offer all options which are actually available online.

    Online store offer liable service to the buyers at the best bargain. They offer different products for dining room, living room, home office and varieties in entertainment furniture as well. For home office it includes modular office sets, home library walls, computer desks, etc. American fixtures designs are more flexible compared to formal and traditional structures which can get difficult to manage and also maintain. The modern American fixtures are designed keeping the modern needs of owners who are looking at products which serve it purpose without demanding much attention on the maintenance and investment part.

    Moreover, American people need attractive and very impressive designs. Because the designs do not consume much of the living space of the room and yet serve its purpose well. They are good decorative items and are multipurpose in nature. A wall unit includes wall, TV cabinet, storage space for home accessories and as the wall units covers the entire wall they come in beautiful crafted designs.

    The greatest advantage of buying such important piece of fixtures from online home furniture store is that you get a vast range of varieties to choose from. In general stores you may find ten items under the same category, where as in online stores you can get hundreds under the same. This includes different styles, designs, size, color, patterns and also price range. Online furniture stores offer best quality home furniture at lower rates than the original price. Be it a dining room or home office, you are sure to find everything u desire for well within your budget from well known brands who offer high quality also.

    Ten Tips for a Trouble Free Paris Taxi Experience

    If you’re visiting Paris for more than a few days, you will most likely have an occasion to use a taxi. Maybe you’ll be using a taxi for your Paris Airport transfer – traveling from Charles de Gaulle or Orly airport to the Paris city center. Or maybe you’ll want to splurge for a night when you visit the Paris Opera. The Parisian taxi system is heavily regulated, so these tips will help to ensure that you’re Paris taxi experiences don’t turn into Paris taxi adventures!

      1. Know how to find an unoccupied taxi – Spotted from down the street, it’s not always easy to tell if a taxi is occupied or not. Luckily, the “Taxi” light on top of the car tells you everything you need to know. The old system (which will be phased out by July 2012) uses a white plastic sign that is either lit or unlit. IF the light is lit (yellowish light), the taxi is unoccupied and you may stop it. If the light is off, the car is occupied, the driver is on a call, or the driver’s shift has ended. The new system, beginning in 2011 uses a white plastic sign with a green light (unoccupied) or a red light (occupied).
  • Taxi Stands – In Paris, certain locations throughout the cities are set up as taxi stands. Whenever you’re ready to get a taxi, simply go to a main thoroughfare and look for a sign next to the street that says “Taxis”. On busy streets during busy hours, you may find a few people already waiting. The rule is first come, first served, so locals will not treat you kindly if you try to jump the queue. Taxis are prohibited from taking on passengers within 50m of a Taxi Stand. So if you are having problems getting a free taxi to stop for you, but they all stop at the end of the street. Take a look and see if there is a Taxi Stand close by.
  • Extra Fees – Taxis are allowed to charge you an extra fee for certain services. Pickups at train stations, airports allow a supplement of up to 1€. Each suitcase put in the trunk (over more than 5kg) maybe be charged 1€. Animals and a fourth passenger may be charged a supplement.
  • Busy Nights and Rainy Days – Be aware that the number of taxis available is regulated and is not necessarily the number that would be available in a free market. On rainy days during tourist season (April – October) in touristy areas and on weekends on the Champs-Elysees after 2AM, it may be very difficult to find an unoccupied taxi.
  • Use a radio taxi – If you are in an out-of-the way location, consider calling a taxi. You’ll pay a little bit more, but you’ll also avoid very long waits in the case of a busy night or a rainy day during tourist season. If you’re in a hotel the reception can call the taxi for you. If not, you can use a service like Taxi G7 or Taxis Bleues.
  • Pay in Cash – Most taxis don’t accept credit cards, so be prepared to pay in cash (Euros). A tip of approximately 10% is standard.
  • Avoid unlicensed taxis – Legal taxis in Paris have a TAXI sign on the roof. From time to time in touristy locations and at the airport you will be approached by people asking if you need a taxi. These offers should be declined. Legitimate taxis stay in their cars and wait for passengers at the taxi stand (including at the airport). The unlicensed taxis could charge you much more than the normal fare.
  • Write your destination address on a piece of paper – Many taxi drivers in Paris only speak French. So unless your French language skills are very good, in order to avoid misunderstandings, it’s best to write your destination address on a piece of paper and hand it to the driver
  • Know the fare system. Parisian taxis charge three different fares: A,B, and C. The A fare is the cheapest, it is valid during the daytime, inside the city limits. The ‘B’ fare is more expensive, it is valid during evening hours and on weekends inside the city limits, and at night outside the city. The ‘C’ fare is the most expensive, it is valid outside the city limits and inside the city limits at night on weekends
  • Take a ride along the river Seine late at night. Driving along the Seine while Paris sleeps is a good way to experience the City of Light. Late one night, between 3am and 5am, take advantage of the opportunity to see Paris in a new way. Ask the taxi driver to drive you along the Seine between Bastille and Place de la Concorde. You’ll be glad you did!
  • Bedroom Wall Design

    Paints, wallpapers and patterns have been an ever changing and a true challenge for any designer and amateur when it comes to covering the walls of a bedroom. It should provide something that is easy to the eyes, or at least to take their minds off after a hard day’s work as they can sit back and relax without staring at the stressful color of the wall. This is a part of bedroom wall design.

    Wallpaper is a good reference that allows ease on applying to a wall. Certain patters can be found just about anywhere, and sometimes it might not look too good for the eye. Teens would often go for darker walls, mainly black, while a pink wall would allow anyone to ask if they’re building a nursery.

    Certain themes have inspired designers to bring the essence of a room, and the more popular ones are often the most romantic. Utilizing more bold colors or to create a picture of serene tranquility, the colors used are often red, blue and some yellow. This also applies to pictures when used, mainly flora and the sea. For most city dwellers, some might go for just plain white walls, that is, if the following top of the line furniture and electronics would allow anyone to ignore the seemingly drab white room. Patterns can also be utilized, ranging from anything out of the blue such as polka dots, pinstripes, or even any geometrical shape. They say a poster has a reason, which is to help distract the owner or visitor from looking around too much. Creating a feasible bedroom wall is all about diverting distraction by concentrating a user to focus mainly on the pattern and allowing to create a mental picture.

    And as a finishing touch, stenciling and stamping requires a dedicated theme that is consistent. Of course this would depend on the owner, but there are times a picture may seem out of place depending on the room. By allowing stencils to create a simple pattern that follows through the primary theme, whether romantic, nautical or for teens, it helps to know what sort of stencil to use to keep it consistent.

    There are various materials, wallpapers and books dedicated on bedroom wall design, as well as the internet, but sometimes it takes a bit of imagination in order to know what most people want when it comes to whatever wall they want to sleep in.

    The Basic Details About Law Enforcement Careers

    The law enforcement is a wide field of career options, the Bureau of Statistics of the United States estimates that the field will keep on growing steadily until the year of 2018, and it will increase by 10% for law enforcement professionals. The usual career that requires 4-year degree course in the law enforcement is the Police Department as well as the Security Enforcement Agencies.

    Investigators and detectives – they are acting for the review evidences, interview the witnesses and follow the leads for solving the crimes committed within their jurisdiction. In spite of the glamorous reputation, being a detective is not that easy. Hours of work are long, the nature of job is dangerous and the salary is usually low. Detective ranking is achieved through climbing the steps like the police forces.

    Parole officers – they are the type of law enforcers who are working with the parolees report as they are being conditionally released from the prison. They have the backgrounds in administration or law enforcement and they should be knowledgeable with the basic-moderate of their computer skills. They have to be ready to testify against or favor to their parolees in the court proceeding if needed.

    FBI and CIA – they are 2 of the best enforcement arms of the United States Government. Career seekers that obtain the security clearance can find stable employment within the government, and they can be at the secret service or even military police.

    Prosecutor and Defense Attorneys – they can enter the field after they have completed the 3-year graduate level of the law schooling programs. As the degree of law enforcement is not being required for the law schools admission, they can still provide a competitive edge that are needed for earning an acceptance to any law school.

    These potential experts must pass the background investigation that includes inquiries to their working history, financial history and criminal history. For those individuals who want to pursue their law enforcement degree must be prepared for the participation of several interviews with their choice of agency. They need to practice for answering the interview questions that are difficult.

    This is a rewarding field that has many advantages for the ones who are choosing it as their career. Landscape of this career is augmenting everyday as the advancement of good opportunities are many.

    Commercial Furniture Vs Home Furniture – What's the Difference?

    Thank god, most people in the world drink alcohol. This is especially true when they are at social events. While its true that people also drink at home, the feel is just different when you’re drinking in a bar or restaurant. For one thing, you don’t have to worry about spilling your drink on your couch, because its not your couch!

    Also, the furniture in commercial establishments is usually higher quality than that of your own home. The reason for this is that commercial furniture gets much more use out of it than your home furniture. Think about it. Hundreds if not thousands of people pass through the doors of a given restaurant every single day. Nearly all of them sit in the furniture.

    Compare that to the comparably small amount that uses the furniture in your house.

    In addition to that, commercial furniture needs to be durable in all situations, both indoors and outdoors.

    Once you’ve had your furniture for a length of time, you’re probably going to have to clean it. You should do this once a month or as needed. Simply take a damp cloth, spray some Windex on it, and wipe off the accumulated dust. Fortunately, commercial furniture is made to withstand many, many spills, so keeping it clean shouldn’t be a problem.

    Finally, before you make a decision to purchase any furniture, make sure you shop around first. You can get some excellent deals online, especially from China. If you plan on ordering in bulk, take advantage of China’s booming economic growth and low prices.

    How to Find Good Wholesale Fashion Styles and Designs to Sell

    If you are looking to start a business that will surely usher you a good amount of profit for yourself, you may need to start your own local clothing store.

    If you are running a retail shop is not quite easy as you think it is, you have to start collecting the different styles, colors and designs of the latest trendy clothes of your choice from the wholesaler shop or store.

    You also have to look for the latest fashionable clothing from their website that is in vogue. This will give you the option to choose from the style and design you prefer to buy from. Another option is that you can also contact different wholesale suppliers through the online site and choose the dresses of your choice.

    There are some entrepreneur who fear that when they invest money on fashion clothing, that, they won’t be able to get the money they invested back. However, this may not be the reason why you should not be conscious of where to get most of the great deals.

    That is why you should try wholesale clothing because in wholesale clothing that is where to get a great discount deal that allows you to have the best deal at an affordable price.

    If you want to be able to succeed, There are lots of things you have to put into consideration first. When you are into selling wholesale fashion cloths, it’s important to look for a supplier that can be able to offers good reliable deals.

    The wholesale clothing have great advantage that enable you to have the best variety of cloths and good designs at lower prices.

    Some times you can be the most fashionable person, at the same time looking into your budget and staying within your budget.

    Another great feature of you shopping from this wholesaler is that you can easily look through their website for good design clothes and different styles.