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We have been receiving many questions about a federal real estate transfer tax enacted as part of the health care reforms in 2010. THERE IS NO SUCH TAX! Pay no attention to an Internet posting riddled with errors that is being circulated about such a tax. The National Association of REALTORS® has released a new brochure to help REALTORS® understand the facts behind this issue.

FACT: The health care legislation created a new tax that would apply to a portion of the gain on the sale of any capital asset (including real estate), but that tax will apply ONLY to individuals with more than $200,000 Adjusted Gross Income (AGI), or $250,000 AGI on a joint return. The tax does not apply to any amount excluded from taxation under the $250,000/$500,000 principal residence rules. The tax is never imposed directly on the full amount of any capital gain.

The tax is computed under a multi-step formula that captures only a portion of any gain and will only affect those with total AGI above the amounts noted above. Links are provided for a Q&A on the tax and to a brochure with examples of the tax.

The 3.8% Tax: NAR’s Q&A
The 3.8% Tax: NAR’s Brochure

RSVP (REALTOR® Service Volunteer Program) week at SILVAR will take place May 16-20 this year. SILVAR members are encouraged to volunteer their time and skills to help the elderly and the homebound in their respective communities. The deadline for volunteering for RSVP is Thursday, March 31, but members are encouraged to volunteer early to facilitate the ordering of RSVP t-shirts, supplies and assignments.

During RSVP Week, REALTORS® and affiliates visit the homes of seniors and the homebound and provide free assistance with household tasks like replacing light bulbs, changing furnace filters, washing windows, flipping mattresses, changing smoke detector batteries and other similar household tasks.

This is the 10th year SILVAR is offering the free assistance to seniors. SILVAR members will once again be joined by volunteers from the San Mateo County Association of REALTORS®, Santa Clara County Association of REALTORS® and Santa Cruz County Association of REALTORS®. Last year, 461 RSVP volunteers from the Bay Area provided free assistance to 325 senior households; 275 REALTORS® and affiliates from SILVAR assisted 152 senior households in SILVAR’s five districts.

This year, each district has scheduled a certain day(s) when volunteers will work in the homes. The schedule and contact information for the district team captains are listed below.

CUPERTINO/SUNNYVALE DISTRICT
RSVP Day: Wednesday, May 18
Team Captain: Sue Bose
For more information, e-mail suebose@yahoo.com or call
(408) 996-8100

LOS ALTOS/MOUNTAIN VIEW DISTRICT
RSVP Day: Wednesday, May 18
Team Captains: Susan O’Brien and David Kim
For more information, e-mail sobrien@interorealestate.com or davidkim@interorealestate.com, or call (650) 947-2900

LOS GATOS/SARATOGA DISTRICT
RSVP day: Thursday, May 19
Team Captain: Rick White
For more information, e-mail rick@serenogroup.com or call
(408) 335-1400

MENLO PARK/ATHERTON DISTRICT
RSVP Day: Thursday, May 19
Team Captain: Chris Isaacson
For more information, e-mail christopher.isaacson@cbnorcal.com or call (650) 851-2666

PALO ALTO DISTRICT
RSVP Day: Wednesday and Thursday, May 18-19
Team Captain: Jeff Beltramo
For more information, e-mail jbeltramo@cbnorcal.com, or call (650) 325-6161

“RSVP is our way of giving back to the communities where we live and work, especially to our senior citizens who have contributed so much to our society,” said SILVAR RSVP Committee Chair Eileen Giorgi. “By helping our seniors who are physically unable to do these tasks and cannot afford to pay to have them done by someone else, we can show our appreciation for what they have done for us.”

Volunteer now by completing a volunteer application and faxing it to SILVAR at (408) 200-0101. You may also call SILVAR at (408) 200-0100 and ask that an application be mailed to you, or contact the RSVP team captain in your district.

For seniors who are physically and financially challenged, tasks like replacing smoke detector batteries, flipping a mattress or washing the windows can be a major chore, especially if relatives who can help them don’t live nearby. Seniors and the homebound living on the Peninsula and in the South Bay may now request free assistance with such household tasks through the REALTOR® Service Volunteer Program (RSVP) for the week of May 16-20, 2011. The deadline for seniors to request assistance is Monday, February 28.

RSVP is a community outreach program offered each year to qualified seniors who cannot otherwise perform certain household tasks due to physical or financial constraints. This free assistance is offered by local REALTORS® in cooperation with various community organizations and senior centers.

During RSVP Week, teams of REALTORS® and affiliates (professionals who provide industry-related services) will visit senior citizens and perform various cleaning and maintenance tasks free of charge. Seniors can request to have light bulbs replaced, furnace filters changed, windows cleaned, mattresses turned or new smoke detector batteries installed.

This is the 10th year the free assistance is being offered to seniors by local REALTORS®. The annual hands-on effort was organized in 2001 by members of the Sili­con Valley Association of REALTORS® (SILVAR), the local trade associations of the real estate industry on the Peninsula and in the South Bay. RSVP has since expanded to include volunteers from the San Mateo County Association of REALTORS®, Santa Clara County Association of REALTORS® and Santa Cruz County Association of REALTORS®.

Homeowners or renters who are advanced in years with physical and financial constraints and live in the communities of Atherton, Campbell, Menlo Park, East Palo Alto, Palo Alto, Woodside, Portola Valley, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Mountain View, Cupertino, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara, Saratoga, Monte Sereno and Los Gatos may apply for services by contacting the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® at (408) 200-0100, or visit www.silvar.org for more information and to download an application.

The 12th annual Silicon Valley Scholars Program for graduating seniors from 18 public high schools in Silicon Valley is now underway. The scholars program is sponsored by the Charitable Foundation of the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS®, the over 4,000-member trade association representing REALTORSand affiliate members on the Peninsula and in the South Bay. 

The REALTORS®’ scholarship program is a partnership with local high schools in Silicon Valley. Principals and faculty at 18 participating high schools nominate three exceptional graduating seniors. The program awards a $1,000 scholarship in recognition of exemplary records, outstanding academic performance and community spirit to one nominee from each school.

The Class of 2011 Silicon Valley scholars will be selected from the high schools in thecommunities served by members of the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS®. Final selections will be made by a committee that includes representatives from the local business community, area high schools, area colleges and the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS®.

“The annual Silicon Valley Scholars Program is an opportunity for our members to show our support for our communities and schools, and to invest in the future of our youth,” said Nina Yamaguchi, chair of the Scholars Program of the Silicon Valley REALTORS® Charitable Foundation. “It’s our way of thanking the students, teachers, administrators and school board members in our communities. Through their hard work and dedication, the schools in our communities are among the best in California and the nation.”

The Silicon Valley REALTORS® Charitable Foundation Scholarship Program has provided nearly $200,000 to 198 graduating seniors in Silicon Valley, since Yamaguchi established the program 11 years ago. Participating schools include Leigh High School and Lynbrook High School in San Jose; Westmont High School in Campbell; Fremont High School in Sunnyvale; Los Altos High School in Los Altos; Los Gatos High School in Los Gatos; Gunn High School and Palo Alto High School in Palo Alto; Menlo Atherton High School in Atherton; Santa Clara High School and Wilcox High School in Santa Clara; Cupertino High School, Homestead High School and Monta Vista High School in Cupertino; Prospect High School and Saratoga High School in Saratoga; Mountain View High School in Mountain View; and Woodside High School in Woodside.

Graduating seniors from the above-mentioned high schools who wish to apply for the scholarships may obtain an application from the respective schools. The completed application must be returned to the high school’s principal or scholarship counselor by Friday, March 11, for submission to the Silicon Valley REALTORS® Charitable Foundation.

For further information, please contact Nina Yamaguchi at (408) 861-8822 or nyamaguchi@cbnorcal.com.

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