Friday, April 23, 2010

Divorcing Long Island couple agrees to share kids, not photos

BY Thomas Zambito

It's not a pretty picture.

A divorcing Long Island couple agreed to share custody of their two kids - but couldn't decide how to divvy up 7,000 family photos snapped during a 21-year marriage.

So Nassau County Family Court Judge Vito DeStefano jumped in and put everything into focus.

The husband gets 75% of the photos or three out of every four on each page of 75 photo albums, DeStefano wrote. His wife gets what's left.

"The court finds that the husband was intricately involved with taking, compiling and cataloging the thousands of photos at issue," DeStefano wrote in a case in which the spouses were identified only by initials.

"He equated his collecting of photographs of family with the hobby of collecting rare books."

The hubby claimed his camera-shy wife was being vindictive by trying to take the pics, which are mainly of their kids. She said she wasn't in most of them because she was holding the camera.

The judge tried to get the warring sides to resolve their differences before issuing his ruling, and the couple paid $2,100 to scan the photographs onto a disk.

But both sides were unhappy with the quality and demanded originals.

DeStefano has given them until June 3 to split up the photos or he'll have them back in court to do it under his watch.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Here’s What Happens After You File

Most taxpayers have already filed their federal tax returns, but many may still have questions. Here’s what the IRS wants you to know about refund status, recordkeeping, mistakes and what to do if you move.
Refund Information
You can go online to check the status of your 2009 refund 72 hours after IRS acknowledges receipt of your e-filed return, or 3 to 4 weeks after you mail a paper return. Be sure to have a copy of your 2009 tax return available because you will need to know your filing status, the first Social Security number shown on the return, and the exact whole-dollar amount of the refund. You have three options for checking on your refund:

* Go to, and click on "Where’s My Refund"
* Call 1-800-829-4477 24 hours a day, seven days a week for automated refund information
* Call 1-800-829-1954 during the hours shown in your tax form instructions

What Records Should I Keep?
Normally, tax records should be kept for three years, but some documents — such as records relating to a home purchase or sale, stock transactions, IRAs and business or rental property — should be kept longer.
You should keep copies of tax returns you have filed and the tax forms package as part of your records. They may be helpful in amending already filed returns or preparing future returns.
Change of Address
If you move after you filed your return, you should send Form 8822, Change of Address to the Internal Revenue Service. If you are expecting a refund through the mail, you should also file a change of address with the U.S. Postal Service.
What If I Made a Mistake?
Errors may delay your refund or result in notices being sent to you. If you discover an error on your return, you can correct your return by filing an amended return using Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return.
Visit for more information on refunds, recordkeeping, address changes and amended returns.