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February e-News


Money Saving Tips to Help Save on Your Energy Bill

The typical household spends $1,900 a year on energy bills, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy. By following simple energy saving tips and purchasing products that are Energy Star-qualified, a typical household can save up to 30 percent, or more than $500 per year, on utility expenses and accompanying pollution.

Following are seven simple tips that will lower your energy bill while helping the environment:

  1. Dirty air filters in a home's heating and cooling system can lead to higher costs and early equipment failure. Clean or change these filters regularly.
  2. Energy Star-qualified windows and doors can reduce home energy bills up to 15 percent. Many manufacturers offer a variety of attractive Energy Star-qualified products for significant energy cost savings.
  3. Air leaks can overwork a home's heating and cooling system. Seal air leaks in walls, ceilings, and around windows and doors, and add insulation to the attic and basement to improve the comfort and durability of your home.
  4. Replace the most frequently used light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs. Look for the Energy Star logo. These use 75 percent less energy and last 10 times longer than normal bulbs. Changing just five can save more than $60 a year in energy costs.
  5. Turn off all lights and electronics when you leave a room. They may not use a lot of electricity on their own, but they add up.
  6. When buying heating and cooling devices, shop during the off-season to take advantage of many manufacturers' seasonal sales promotions and rebates.
  7. Planting trees that provide shade for the home can reduce cooling costs by up to 25 percent. For best results, plant leafy shade trees to the south and west and evergreens to the north. Trees also help to reduce the greenhouse effect, while beautifying the outside of the home.

The less energy people use, the less energy power plants need to generate, which reduces greenhouse gas emissions and improves the quality in our world. Energy efficiency helps the economy, too, by saving homeowners up to 30 percent in energy costs each year.

For more money savings tips, delicious recipes and much more, please visit www.washtrusthometips.com.

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Your Income Taxes
By Norman L. Langlois, Vice President & Fiduciary Tax Officer

What happened to April 15th? Last year, our 2010 income tax returns were due on April 18th. This year, 2011 returns are due on April 17, 2012. Again, it’s because of Emancipation Day, a legal holiday in Washington, D.C., which will be celebrated on the third Monday in April this year. Therefore, you will have until Tuesday April 17th to file your 2011 tax returns. Similar to last year, this new due date applies to filing returns, paying taxes, requesting an automatic six month extension, etc. Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and other states have also extended there filing deadline.

2011 didn’t see significant changes to our tax laws, but, there were some. On the positive side, the personal exemption and standard deduction increased for 2011. So did the standard mileage rate for business use of your car. However, some tax benefits were either deceased or eliminated. The Nonbusiness Energy Property Credit’s lifetime limit was decreased to $500.00 and the Making Work Pay Credit was eliminated for 2011.

If you file a Rhode Island and/or Connecticut income tax return you will see that each state’s tax rates have changed. Rhode Island has condensed its brackets and reduced its top tax rate from 9.90% to 5.99%. RI has also eliminated itemized deductions from its tax calculation while substantially increasing its standard deduction for all filing statuses. Connecticut has expanded the number of its tax brackets and increased the top tax rate to 6.7% from 6.5%. It has also lowered the amount of income subject to this top bracket. Additionally, CT has reduced the property tax credit from $500 to $300 but now allows a refundable earned income tax credit. Also, beginning with 2011 income tax returns, anyone entitled of a CT refund, who does not elect direct deposit, will receive a debit card rather than a check!

From a recordkeeping standpoint, the new federal broker cost basis reporting rules were introduced. Brokers will be required to report a taxpayers tax cost for certain stocks sold in 2011. Starting in 2012 they’ll also have to report the tax cost of mutual fund holdings sold. All taxpayers who sold assets during 2011 will need to complete the new Form 8949. The totals from this form will then go to Schedule D of Form 1040.

Also, if you haven’t already done so, you have until April 17th to contribute to your traditional or Roth IRA. Don’t miss the potential tax deferral or tax savings. For those who participate in an employer sponsored retirement plan, now is the time to increase contributions, if possible. The affect on your after tax earnings could save you tax dollars in the current year.

If you still need more time when April 17th arrives, you can obtain a six month filing extension by submitting U.S. Form 4868 and the appropriate state form. You will then have until October 17, 2012 to file your returns. However, this is an extension of time to file, but not to pay. If you owe any taxes, they must be paid no later than April 17, 2012. Any underpayment of taxes could result in penalties and interest on this amount. An extension will also provide you with more time to contribute to your SEP-IRA since those contributions can be made by your returns due date, including extensions.

Lastly and with regard to tax planning for 2012 and 2013, higher income ($250,000 or more for those filing married jointly) taxpayers contemplating such events as the sale of appreciated property or Roth IRA conversions should consider doing so in 2012 rather that 2013 when the new 3.8% Medicare Tax on investment income begins.

Consult your tax advisor for the details and qualifications that apply to the information described above.  For more information, please contact a Washington Trust representative.

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Rhode Island’s Largest Independent Bank expands residential lending presence into CT

Washington Trust announced today that it has opened The Washington Trust Home Loan Center, a mortgage loan production office located at 180 Glastonbury Boulevard, Suite 107 in Glastonbury, just outside of Hartford, CT. The Bank hired several experienced mortgage professionals in recent months and the Glastonbury office now has a team of eight employees, led by longtime Glastonbury resident Steven Veronesi.

The Washington Trust Home Loan Center mortgage team originates residential loans, including fixed rate, variable rate, construction loans, jumbo mortgages, reverse mortgages, as well as home equity loans and lines of credit, to borrowers throughout the Greater Hartford area. Mortgage loan processing and underwriting is also being at the Home Loan Center.

“Washington Trust has been successful in mortgage banking, because we offer a complete line of competitive mortgage options, along with trusted advice and a high level of customer service,” said Stephen M. Bessette, Executive Vice President of Retail Lending. “We are looking forward to helping Connecticut homeowners with their borrowing needs.”

For more information, please click here to contact a mortgage professional.

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Washington Trust doesn’t just serve its local communities, it is a part of them.

Washington Trust Blood Drives:
Washington Trust’s blood drive is the 2nd largest blood drive in the state of Rhode Island. The 26 blood drives resulted in 176 pints donated which means that 528 people were helped in 2011. Since the blood drive’s inception in 2007, Washington Trust has collected 458 pints of blood.

Adopt-A-Family
Washington Trust helped brighten the holidays for nearly 40 families and hundreds of children in need in Rhode Island and Southeastern Connecticut. Bank employees “adopted” families through local nonprofit organizations and churches and purchased hundreds of gifts including: clothing, toys, games, and gift cards.

Winter Coat Drive
Washington Trust collected 1,161 Winter Coats, Snow Pants and Items of Warmth in January 2012 to help the Rhode Island Donation Exchange Program. The donations were generously contributed by Bank employees and customers.

Wear Red Day
Washington Trust joined the American Heart Association of Southern New England’s fight against heart disease by holding a Wear Red Day on Friday, February 3, 2012. Employees were encouraged to wear red to work and donating money to help the AHA raise women’s awareness of cardiovascular disease and empower women to reduce their risk. In this single day effort, $1,117 was donated to the AHA.

Peanut Butter Drive
The 12th Annual Peanut Butter kicks off on March 1, 2012, and at Washington Trust’s recent employee recognition event, Bank employees donated over 600 jars of peanut butter to the drive.

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Join the 12th Annual Peanut Butter Drive!
Mach 1st - March 31st

One in six R.I. children will go to bed hungry tonight...but you can help!

Become a Peanut Butter Ambassador!

  1. Coordinate a peanut butter collection at your business, school, or community group during the month of March to benefit local Rhode Island food banks.
  2. Complete the participation form and send to Laura Dunleavy in Marketing.
  3. Host a Donate the Difference Day at your business, school, or community group. Select a special day and ask people to bring in a peanut butter & jelly sandwich….and donate what they would have spent by dining out…to the RI Community Food Bank at www.rifoodbank.org/peanutbutter. Online donations will be used to purchase peanut butter at wholesales prices.

If you have any questions, please call Laura Dunleavy at 401-348-1657 or email at lbdunleavy@washtrust.com.

“Spread the word”…please like and share www.iluvri.com

 

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April 20, 2014
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Due to system maintenance, Online Banking and Mobile Banking will be unavailable on Sunday, April 20 from 12:30 a.m. until 4:30 a.m.