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How to Get a Copy of Your Prior Year Tax Information

Author: Krystal Chapin

February 24th, 2015

A time may arise when you may be asked to provide information from last year’s tax return. Whether it be for a student loan, mortgage, or a VISA, it’s important to know how to obtain this important information. The IRS offers a free transcript service to get you the information you need.

A tax return transcript may provide you information needed more quickly. Transcripts provide taxpayers with a record of their tax return which includes most of the line-items as filed with the IRS, including any accompanying forms and schedules. However, it is important to remember that this report will not reflect any changes made after the return was filed with the IRS. In order to view any adjustments made by you or the IRS after the return was filed, request a tax account transcript. This report will show basic data such as marital status, type of return filed, adjusted gross income, and taxable gross income.

There are many ways to request one of the transcripts listed above. You can request the transcript by going online to www.IRS.gov and selecting the “Get Transcript” tool. You can use this tool to immediately view and print copies of your transcript for free. You may also order a transcript by phone by calling 800-908-9946 and a voice recording will guide you through the ordering process. Lastly, you may order by mail, either by using the “Get transcript by mail” option online, or by completing and mailing the Form 4506T. Ordering by mail typically takes 30 days to receive.

In order to receive an actual copy of your tax return from a previous year, you must complete and mail Form 4506 to the IRS office listed on the form for your area. The cost is $50 per copy and may take up to 75 days to receive. Tax forms are available to print online at www.IRS.gov/forms.

Long Term Care Insurance

Author: Robin Friedman

February 21st, 2015

Lately, I have been receiving solicitations from insurance companies pushing LTC insurance.  I have become aware of just how expensive it can be to go through long term care(nursing homes, residential care facilities, etc.) It is easy to see life savings eaten up by just a few years of long term care.

LTC insurance can be a good idea for some people.  If you have assets that exceed the value of your home by three to five hundred thousand dollars, LTC may be a good idea and a safe bet.  This is because LTC insurance for people in this category is considered more of a safety net instead of a financial investment.  It is even more true when your LTC insurance covers the cost and expenses for assisted living facilities.

A majority of people that purchase LTC insurance buy it at a median age of 65 years old. Before this age, most people are unable to predict their financial futures to such a degree as to know what kinds of finances they will be facing when/if they need long term care.  In addition, for people that put off the decision about LTC insurance until they are older, the premiums are often astronomically expensive, well out of their price range.  So, if you are considering LTC insurance for yourself, you should expect to come to a decision around age 65.

Before committing to the purchase of a LTC insurance plan, you should ask your financial advisor about it and see if it makes sense.

Carbon Monoxide: The Stealthy Killer

Author: Hogan Willig

February 18th, 2015

Each year hundreds of people experience what they think are flu symptoms:

  • Headaches
  • fatigue
  • nausea
  • dizziness.

These are actually symptoms of CO poisoning.

What is carbon monoxide (CO)?

Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas that can kill you if inhaled. You cannot see, smell or taste it. It is sometimes referred to as the “Silent Killer” because it can take your life without warning. Most people die in home fires die at night, while asleep. They don’t wake up because the CO put them into a deeper sleep. They are unable to respond and escape.

Why is CO deadly?

CO gets picked up by the cells in our blood even easier than the oxygen they are supposed to pick up and the CO is carried to all the vital organs such as the heart and brain. In addition to flu symptoms, it can cause vomiting, loss of consciousness, brain damage and death.

Where does CO come from?

CO is a product of incomplete combustion. Any fuel-burning device has the potential to produce dangerous levels of CO gas. Examples of common devices that may emit CO include:

  • Lawnmowers
  • Snow blowers
  • Automobiles
  • Gas fueled generators
  • Fireplaces
  • Wood stoves
  • Any fuel-fired appliances (not electric)

What can be done to prevent CO poisoning?

  • Like smoke detectors, have CO monitors in good working condition in your home.
  • Make sure appliances are installed in compliance with the manufacturer’s instructions and code enforcement
  • Have heating systems inspected and serviced at least once a year
  • Make sure chimneys and vents are checked regularly for blockages, corrosion and loose connections
  • Never burn charcoal or gas grills inside a home or enclosed space
  • Never use portable fuel-burning camping equipment inside a home, garage, vehicle or tent
  • Never use a gas powered generator inside a building
  • Never use a gas stove to heat with
  • Never use unvented fuel-burning appliances in any room where people are sleeping

Where CO detectors should be installed?

CO is almost identical to air and thus mixes freely in it. For this reason detectors can be installed at any level in a room. If mounting a detector on the ceiling do so away from smoke detectors so you can distinguish between the two. My recommendation is to install a CO detector on every floor you have a fuel-burning appliance in a room adjacent to the appliance

What should I do if the CO alarm sounds?

Stay calm. Check everyone in the house at the time

“Do you feel sick? Do you have a headache? Check them for flu-like symptoms

If the answer is yes to any of these questions is yes evacuate and call the fire department. Failure to get out immediately could result in prolonged exposure worsening the effects from the CO.

If the answer is no the likelihood of serious exposure is much less and you may not need to call the fire department. Instead turn off the fuel-burning appliances and ventilate the building and attempt resetting the alarm.

If at any time during the process anyone feels ill or you just don’t feel right call the fire department

What Do I Do After An Accident

Author: Robin Friedman

February 14th, 2015

No matter how calm and collected you may be in your everyday life, a serious accident can easily leave you feeling panicked and confused.  Despite this natural feeling, it is important to try and stay focused and to direct your attention to certain steps that will help you to protect your right to compensation as an injury victim.  By following these steps,  you can greatly improve your chances of making a strong personal injury claim against the at-fault party, as you will be gathering evidence and removing opportunities for the opposition to make you appear at fault for the accident.  Here are some of the things you need to do following your accident:

Do not admit fault (even partial fault) or make any statements that can be used against you later on.

  • Write down the names and contact information of anyone who witnessed the accident.  Get as many witnesses as you can!!
  • Snap photos of the accident scene.
  • Seek immediate medical attention and keep copies of your medical paperwork, bills, receipts, etc. Also, follow your doctor’s orders.
  • Do not answer questions from the at-fault party’s insurance company without first consulting with a lawyer!! Insurance companies often call victims and ask that questions so they get statements that will later be used to shift the blame to the victim.

It cannot be stressed enough how important it is to have a qualified attorney on your side after you have been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence.  An experienced lawyer will be able to help you collect the appropriate evidence, negotiate with the insurance company and even file a lawsuit on your behalf, if necessary.

At HoganWillig our personal injury lawyers know how the legal system works.  In recognition of their excellent work in personal injury law, they have been honored by Super Lawyers® Magazine, Martindale-Hubbell®, and the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum®. Contact us at 716-636-7600 for a free case evaluation.

What’s More Romantic Than a Divorce for Valentine’s Day????

Author: Robin Friedman

February 10th, 2015

Most people think of Valentine’s Day as a romantic time in which happy couples get to spend quality time together.  Believe it or not, the weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day are also a very popular time for divorces.

January and February are especially busy times for dissolutions and this period of time is typically known to family law attorneys as “divorce season”.  This is largely because many people wait until after the busy and stressful holiday season in December to follow through with their divorce plans.

As stressful and emotional as the dissolution process can be, for many couples separating from an unhappy marriage is the opportunity for a fresh start.  In this way, a Valentine’s Day divorce can give someone a chance to move forward, while allowing both partners the chance to reflect on what is best for themselves and their children. Allowing yourself the chance to admit that things are not working out and being honest if with your spouse is at least something to be proud of.  While separation can be extremely hard when you are going through the motions, it can end up being a blessing in disguise. Perhaps when the dissolution process is finally over and you are ready to date again you can redefine what Valentine’s Day means to you.

If you are looking for a compassionate, experienced family law attorney in the Western New York area, contact our office for a consultation with one of our highly experienced attorneys.

Don’t get stuck with the bill

Author: Robin Friedman

February 4th, 2015

After being in a car accident, your life can become difficult.  You may have injuries that require months or years of recovery, operations or other treatments.  You may be limited by your new disabilities or have to miss social gatherings due to pain or other issues.  You personal injuries weren’t your fault; someone else’s negligence led to you suffering.  With the right help, you can get money you need to pay for medical care, your needs at home, lost wages and other things you need.

You may be struggling to come to an agreeable settlement offer with an insurance company or be faced with an injury that was a result of someone driving without insurance.  Whatever the cause, you deserve to get the money you need to care for yourself and your family.  In 2014, there were over 10 million motor vehicle crashes in the Unites States; now that you’ve suffered one, you don’t deserve to be seen only as a statistic.

Whether you need ongoing rehabilitation, medications, to replace your lost wages, to pay for commutes to the hospitals or other things, it’s important that you stand up for your right to proper compensation.  You may have a damaged vehicle on top of your broken bones or disabilities; you need to get the money you need to replace or repair it, too.

You deserve to receive what you need to get back on your feet and back to your daily life.  If you were injured in a car accident, the lawyers at HoganWillig are here to help.  Call us at 716-636-7600.

Safely Clear Snow and Ice

Author: Robin Friedman

January 26th, 2015

The importance of removing snow and ice from sidewalks should never be underestimated.  If it is not removed, sidewalks can become so dangerous that it is almost impossible to walk on them.  This can pose a problem for homeowners and landlords alike.

It also means that emergency crews may not be able to get to your house if you need them.  Furthermore, it makes doing simple things like walking out to get the mail or letting the dog out much more difficult and potentially hazardous than it needs to be.

When there is a lot of snow and ice on your sidewalks, there is always that chance that you could slip and fall, and that you could be severely injured.  Having said that, it is equally important that you engage in the removal of snow and ice in a safe manner.  People are injured on a daily basis when they are trying to remove snow and ice from their sidewalks. This usually happens for one of two reasons.  They are either using an incorrect technique, and they end up with some type of musculoskeletal injury or they are over exerting  themselves, and the problems can be even worse.  In some rare cases, injuries happen because people stay out too long, and they don’t realize that they are becoming hypothermic.

In order to do it safely, it is important to take stock of your personal health and make sure that you are in good enough shape that you can safely do it.  If you have a heart condition or a respiratory condition, it is best that you get someone else to do it for you.  If that is not possible, try to tackle the job when there is not  so much snow and ice that has to be removed and take frequent breaks. Furthermore, you need to have a good snow shovel and make sure that you are using your knees more than your back to remove everything.  Otherwise, you could suffer a significant back injury.  Last but not least, dress appropriately and do your best not to stay out in the cold for too long.  The last thing that you want to do is allow your core body temperature to drop to potentially dangerous levels or suffer from frostbite because you are staying out there too long.

If you follow these safety procedures, you should be able to remove snow and ice from your sidewalks much more safely, thereby creating a safer situation for everyone involved.


We Practice Law for Your Peace of Mind