- Low pump prices fuel vehicle sales. The July motor vehicle sales report shows that U.S. car manufacturers are reaping the benefits of low gas prices as consumers rush to buy SUVs and bigger vehicles. The industry is close to pre-recession sales numbers.
- Oil prices reach multi-month lows. Though crude oil supplies fell, a jump in U.S. gasoline inventories sent global oil prices low again. If refineries continue to produce at capacity, gasoline stocks will remain high even after the peak driving season.
- Factory orders rebound in June. Orders for manufactured goods jumped in June in a positive sign for the struggling sector. A strong dollar and weak energy prices had stalled manufacturing activity in May.
- Consumer debt rises in June. Americans took on debt faster in June, suggesting that an improving labor market may be making them comfortable enough to open their wallets.
Quote of the Week “Be sure you put your feet in the right place, then stand firm.” – Abraham Lincoln
Tax Tip of the Week: Take Advantage of College Tax Credits
If you, your spouse, or one of your dependents is heading off to college this fall, you may be able to claim some education expenses on your tax return. Here’s what you need to know:
- You can claim only one type of education credit per student on your tax return each year. If you have multiple eligible students, you could claim a different credit for each student.
- To qualify, education expenses must be for tuition, fees, and “related expenses” for an eligible student. Expenses must be paid for attendance at eligible higher education institutions, including most colleges and universities. Ask the school whether they are an eligible institution or check the school’s accreditation status in the U.S. Department of Education’s Accreditation Database.
- The American Opportunity Tax Credit: The AOTC is worth up to $2,500 per year, per eligible student. You may claim this credit only for the first four years of higher education. 40% of the AOTC is refundable, which means if you are eligible, you can get up to $1,000 of the credit as a refund, even if you do not owe any taxes.
- The Lifetime Learning Credit: The LLC is worth up to $2,000 on your tax return. There is no limit on the number of years that you can claim the LLC for an eligible student.