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letters to the editor - 4/3/02

April 03, 2002

Consider e-filing

To the editor:

This is the time of year when residents of the Maryland area begin to think about their taxes. At the Internal Revenue Service, we will do everything possible to make this tax season as easy as possible.

To that end, we urge taxpayers to consider using IRS e-file. It's fast, accurate and dependable. Even better, taxpayers can get their refunds direct-deposited to their checking accounts in as little as 10 days. That's less than half the time a refund takes for a paper return.

The e-file program is easy. Taxpayers can file a completely paperless return using readily available tax preparation software or through a tax professional. There's nothing to mail to the IRS - not even a W-2. If taxpayers owe money, they can schedule an electronic fund withdrawal from their bank account or pay with a credit card.

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IRS e-file also greatly reduces errors, less than one percent compared to almost 20 percent for paper returns. Fewer errors mean fewer delays in refunds and fewer notices from the IRS. E-file saves time and headaches for everyone. Check out the IRS Web site at www.IRS.gov for more information.

A recent government-wide survey of customer satisfaction showed the IRS posting the biggest gains of any agency, thanks to the high satisfaction rate with IRS e-file. Last year, more than 40 million taxpayers filed electronically. Another 40 million taxpayers used their computers, but then printed out returns and mailed them. If you haven't tried e-file, this is the year. Delete the paper work; hit send.

Charles O. Rossotti, Commissioner

Internal Revenue Service

Washington, D.C.




Try a shelter pet

To the editor:

There are several pet stores in the Tri-State area that sell puppies, kittens, bunnies and other small animals., even though the shelters are full of dogs, cats, rabbits and other small animals that need good homes where they will be part of the family.

Instead they will probably be euthanized. On average, 25 percent of the dogs in shelters are purebred and there are many pedigree cats there, too. Parents should be responsible and do research before getting any pet and only get a pet if the whole family wants it.

The parents should always be the primary caretaker of any pet. Children may say they will take care of an animal, but after a few weeks or months will lose interest in the the caretaking chores, and off to the shelter the animal goes. Most pet stores don't sell dogs or cats, and more pet stores are getting away from selling small animals because they are realizing that many end up at shelters.

Easter is the worst time of year for bunnies, especially. The couple of months following Easter are a nightmare for the bunnies and the shelter, because so many are brought in after the novelty has worn off. Others have a worse fate of being released into the wild, which they are ill equipped to handle and guarantees their death.

I am a foster mom for the House Rabbit Society and we are fostering as many bunnies as we can right now and the area shelters are bursting with rabbits and guinea pigs.

The Washington County shelter has a few and the Frederick shelter has 17 right now (as of March 24). After Easter the shelters will be flooded again. Let the pet stores know that you won't support them if they are adding to the pet overpopulation. Go to the Web page www.rabbitsinthehouse.org to find out more information about taking care of a rabbit the proper way, and follow links to area shelters to see the small animals available for adoption. Here are some other websites for information: http://www.vin.com/PetCare/Articles/Cats/PCF02897.html

Or: http://www.nopuppymills.com/prices.html

Or:

http://www.rmad.org/acompan.html

Carla Pickett

Keedysville




Get a home in Hagerstown with PRIDE plans

To the editor:

We agree with Bob Maginnis that the City's Fairgrounds can be a great marketing tool to promote homeownership and reinvestment in the City's East End. We want to bring to your attention, and to Herald-Mail readers, two exciting new "Home PRIDE" homeownership programs available in neighborhoods adjacent to the Fairgrounds.

In partnership with the State of Maryland's Community Legacy Program and the City of Hagerstown, the Hagerstown Home Store is providing $500,000 in second mortgage funding for buyers in selected areas of Hagerstown's East End and downtown.

One program provides funds for those who want to buy and renovate homes, the second provides substantial downpayment and mortgage reduction assistance - neither requires repayment if the buyer remains in the home.

As a partner in the City's Homeownership Initiative, the Hagerstown Home Store is providing free homebuyer education and pre-purchase counseling to over 250 families each year. In 2001, we worked directly with 20 percent of City homebuyers.

Home PRIDE is a great opportunity for homebuyer - and for the Community Legacy neighborhoods. Interested buyers should call the Hagerstown Home Store at 301-797-0900.

R. Lee Downey, president

Home Store

Hagerstown

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