U.S. home prices at lowest level since 2006

U.S. home prices fell 1.1% in December to bring the year-over-year
fall to 4%, according to the Case-Shiller home price index released

The 20-city composite is at its lowest level since the housing crisis
began in mid-2006. Prices in hard-hit Detroit declined 3.8% in
December, and only Phoenix and Miami saw price gains.


Senate approved bill to extend payroll-tax cut

Senate lawmakers on Friday approved a bill to extend the current 4.2%
payroll tax through the end of 2012. Senators approved the bill by a
vote of 60-36.

The measure also extends prolonged jobless benefits and prevents
payment cuts for Medicare doctors.

The House approved the bill earlier Friday and it now goes to
President Barack Obama for signature.


Preparing Form 1096 to the IRS

Form 1096 is a summary return, which shows the totals from information returns and must be submitted to the IRS along with these returns, such as forms 1099, 1098, 3921, 3922, 5496 and W4-G. Form 1096 includes information specific to the employer as well as information specific to the forms being filed.

The form 1096 must be submitted to the IRS no later than the last business day of February each year, along with the applicable returns which it summarizes.

To Complete Form 1096:

  • Enter the name of your business (as the "Filer") and address; a name of a person to contact, and an email address, phone number and fax number. 
  • Enter your Employer ID Number (Box 1) or Social Security Number (Box 2), if you don't have an EIN. 
  • In Box 3, enter the total number of forms you are submitting with this 1096. 
  • In Box 4, enter the total federal income tax withheld on all the forms you are submitting. If you didn't withhold any federal income tax, indicate "0".
  • In Box 5, enter the total amount of reported payments on all the forms you are submitting. 
  • In Box 6, enter an "X" in the box for the type of form you are submitting. For example, if you are submitting 1099-MISC forms, enter an X in the 1099-MISC box.
  • Check Box 7 if you will not be required to file Form 1096 in the future.
  • Sign and date Form 1096 before mailing to the address noted in the instructions.

You must submit a separate 1096 for every type of return you have given to a recipient.


U.S. Unemployment Rate Falls to a 3-Year Low

Economy recovery seems finally to be reaching American workers as the government reported that the unemployment rate and the number of jobless fell to 8.3 percent, in January to the lowest levels since
early 2009.

The Labor Department's latest snapshot of the job market, released on Friday, makes clear that employers have been hiring more in recent months, with 243,000 net new jobs in January. The unemployment rate now stands at 8.3 percent, down from 8.5 percent a month earlier and from 9.1 percent as recently as last August. The report revealed job gains not just for the last month but for previous months. December job growth was revised to 203,000, from the original 200,000. The job gains for November, originally 100,000 jobs, were revised upward to 157,000, creating a picture of a job market that has been gathering steam.