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A Guide For Victims Of Tax Related Identity Theft

Being a victim of tax related identity theft can leave you scrambling to take the proper steps to set things right. Here’s are the things you need to do.

The post A Guide For Victims Of Tax Related Identity Theft appeared first on Bible Money Matters and was written by Peter Anderson. Copyright © Bible Money Matters – please visit biblemoneymatters.com for more great content.

Source: biblemoneymatters.com

2020 Could Be an Unprofitable Year for Rental Properties. Here’s How to Handle the Taxes

beach house Darwin Brandis/Getty Images

Economic fallout from the COVID-19 crisis and civil unrest could cause many rental real estate properties to run up tax losses in 2020 and maybe beyond. This column covers the most important federal income tax questions and answers for rental property owners. Here goes.

What can I write off?

Nothing new here. You can deduct mortgage interest and real estate taxes on rental properties. You can also write off all standard operating expenses that go along with owning rental property: utilities, insurance, repairs and maintenance, care and maintenance of outdoor areas, and so forth.

What about depreciation write-offs?

For many rental property owners, the tax-saving bonus is the fact that you can depreciate the cost of residential buildings over 27.5 years, even while they are (you hope) increasing in value. You can generally depreciate the cost of commercial buildings over 39 years.

Example: You own a small apartment building that cost $1.5 million not including the land. The annual depreciation deduction is $54,545 ($1.5 million/27.5). The deduction can shelter that much annual positive cashflow from income taxes. So, depreciation write-offs are nice tax-savers, especially if you own an expensive property or several properties.

Variation: As stated earlier, commercial buildings must be depreciated over a much-longer 39-year period. Even so, the annual depreciation write-off for a $1.5 million commercial building is $38,462. The deduction can shelter that much annual cash flow from income taxes.

Can I claim 100% first-year bonus depreciation?

Yes, for qualified improvement property (QIP) expenditures on a nonresidential building. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) included a retroactive correction to the statutory language of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA). The correction allows much faster depreciation for commercial real estate qualified improvement property (QIP) that’s placed in service in 2018-2022. QIP is defined as an improvement to an interior portion of a nonresidential building that’s placed in service after the building was placed in service. However, QIP doesn’t include any expenditures attributable to: (1) enlarging the building, (2) any elevator or escalator, or (3) the internal structural framework of the building. Thanks to the CARES Act correction, you can write off the entire cost of QIP in Year 1, because it qualifies for 100% first-year bonus depreciation.

Alternatively, you can choose to depreciate QIP over 15 years using the straight-line method. That alternative might make sense if you expect higher tax rates in future years. Discuss your QIP depreciation options with your tax pro.

What else do I need to know about depreciation write-offs?

You ask such good questions. There’s more. The TCJA increased the maximum Section 179 first-year depreciation deduction for qualifying real property expenditures to $1 million, with annual inflation adjustments. The inflation-adjusted maximum for tax years beginning in 2020 is $1.04 million. The Section 179 deduction privilege potentially allows you to deduct the entire cost of qualifying real property expenditures in Year 1. I say potentially, because Section 179 deductions are subject to several limitations. Ask your tax pro for details.

The TCJA also expanded the definition of qualifying property to include expenditures for nonresidential building roofs, HVAC equipment, fire protection and alarm systems, and security systems.

Finally, the TCJA further expanded the definition of qualifying property to include depreciable tangible personal property used predominantly to furnish lodging. Examples of such property include beds, other furniture, and appliances used in the living quarters of an apartment house.

Can I claim the qualified business income (QBI) deduction base on my net rental income?

Maybe. For 2018-2025, the TCJA established a new personal deduction based on qualified business income (QBI) passed through to your personal Form 1040 from a pass-through business entity (meaning a sole proprietorship, LLC treated as a sole proprietorship for tax purposes, partnership, LLC treated as a partnership for tax purposes, or S corporation). The deduction can be up to 20% of QBI, subject to restrictions that kick in at higher income levels. For a while, it was unclear if you could claim QBI deductions based on net rental income passed through to you from one of the aforementioned pass-through entities. The IRS eventually issued taxpayer-friendly guidance that allows QBI deductions in most such cases, but you must follow complicated rules to collect the tax-saving benefit. As your tax pro for details.

What about the passive loss rules?

Ugh. If your rental property throws off tax losses (most properties do, at least during the early years and during years when the economy is suffering — like now), things can get complicated. The so-called passive activity loss (PAL) rules may come into play. Losses from rental properties will usually be classified as passive losses.

In general, the PAL rules only allow you to currently deduct passive losses to the extent you have current passive income from other sources, like positive income from other rental properties or gains from selling them. Passive losses in excess of passive income are suspended until you either have enough passive income or you sell the property that produced the losses. Bottom line: the PAL rules can postpone any tax-saving benefit from rental property losses, sometimes for years. Fortunately, there are several exceptions to the PAL rules that can allow you to deduct rental property losses sooner rather than later. Your tax pro can explain the exceptions and help you plan to become eligible, if possible.

Is that the end of the bad news?

Not exactly. Say you manage to successfully clear the hurdles imposed by the PAL rules for your rental property losses. So far, so good. But the TCJA established another hurdle that you must also clear to currently deduct those losses. For tax years beginning in 2018-2025, you cannot deduct an excess business loss in the current year. An excess business loss is one that exceeds $250,000 or $500,000 for a married joint-filing couple. Any excess business loss is carried over to the following tax year and can be deducted under the rules for net operating loss (NOL) carry-forwards. This loss disallowance rule applies after applying the PAL rules. So, if the PAL rules disallow your rental losses, this rule is a nonfactor.

COVID-19 Relief: Thankfully, the CARES Act suspends the excess business loss disallowance rule for losses that arise in tax years beginning in 2018-2020. That’s good news.

What’s the deal with net operation losses (NOLs)?

Say you manage to successfully clear both of the preceding hurdles for your rental property losses. Now we are talking, because you can generally use those losses currently to offset taxable income from other sources. If losses for the year exceed income from other sources, you may have a net operating loss (NOL) for the year.

COVID-19 Relief: The CARES Act allows a five-year carryback privilege for an NOL that arises in a tax year beginning in 2018-2020. So, you can carry an NOL from one of those years back to an earlier year, deduct it, and recover some or all of the federal income tax paid for the carryback year. Because federal income tax rates were generally higher in years before the TCJA took effect, NOLs carried back to those years can be especially beneficial. The TCJA kicked in starting with tax years beginning in 2018.

What if I have positive taxable income?

Eventually your rental property should start throwing off positive taxable income instead of losses, because escalating rents will surpass your deductible expenses. Of course, you must pay income taxes on those profits. But if you piled up suspended passive losses in earlier years, you can now use them to offset your passive profits.

Another nice thing: positive taxable income from rental real estate is not hit with the dreaded self-employment (SE) tax, which applies to most other unincorporated profit-making ventures. The SE tax rate can be up to 15.3%. Something to avoid when possible.

One bad thing: positive passive income from rental real estate owned by a higher-income individual can get socked with the 3.8% net investment income tax (NIIT), and gains from selling properties can also get hit with the NIIT. Ask your tax pro for details.

The bottom line

There you have it: most of what you need to know about the federal income tax issues that can come into play for rental property owners. The economic fallout from the COVID-19 crisis and recent civil unrest increase the odds that rental properties will suffer losses in 2020, but tax relief provisions may soften the blow.

The post 2020 Could Be an Unprofitable Year for Rental Properties. Here’s How to Handle the Taxes appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

Source: realtor.com

5 Creative Ways to Decorate Your Home for Halloween

Goblins and witches and ghosts, oh my! How many of these ghoulish creatures will you be greeting this Halloween? Hopefully you’ll have the candy and creepy (but cute) ambiance to avoid the “trick” end of “trick-or-treat!” If you haven’t yet decorated for the holiday, don’t worry. Here are five easy ideas for a “spook-tacular” home.

  1. Eerie Entranceway
    • Paint black jack-o-lantern faces on small, glass votives. Drop a flameless tealight candle in each of them and use them to decorate around your front door.
  1. Frightening Florals
    • Black calla lilies have a wonderful dark, purply color. Plant some in flower pots around your home for a gloomy look with an exotic twist.
  1. Raven’s Nest Wreath
    • Remember last year when you weren’t as prepared for Halloween? Nevermore. Grab a twig wreath from your local craft store and place a faux black bird in the middle.
  1. Black Cat Pumpkins
    • Paint two pumpkins, one smaller and one larger, all black. Stack the smaller one on top of the other, and add eyes, a nose, and whiskers. Add cat ears cut from card stock and stand back! You won’t want these bad boys crossing your path.
  1. Mummified Glassware
    • Whether you’re serving up a glass of pumpkin flavored punch or a dish of fun sized candy bars, dress up your glassware to match the mood. Tape gauze to the bottom of the cup and wrap upwards, tucking in an end piece at the top to secure it.

With decorations like these, you just might have trick-or-treaters flocking to your home—if they’re not too scared, that is!


The post 5 Creative Ways to Decorate Your Home for Halloween first appeared on Century 21®.

Source: century21.com

The Ultimate How-To on Filing Your Taxes for Free

Man at computer reading how to file taxes for free

If you bristle at the idea of having to pay to file your taxes, you’ll be happy to know that the IRS found 70% of all taxpayers are eligible to prepare and file their federal tax returns for free. And a variety of free federal and state tax solutions can help qualifying taxpayers file their 2018 tax returns without paying a cent.

Some solutions that offer free filing are tax software providers that have partnered with the IRS through the Free File Alliance, while others are standard tax preparation offerings. Many have eligibility requirements. For example, IRS Free File options are for those with incomes below $66,000. Those with incomes over $66,000 can use Free Fillable Forms, though. All free filing options are well-suited for straightforward tax returns.  IRS-affiliated free file offers must be accessed through the IRS website.

Filing and paying taxes isn’t fun, but it’s something we all have to do. And getting anything for free is always fun. So, we’ve compiled the ultimate guide to filing your taxes for free. Included are 20 ways you can file your federal and/or state taxes at no cost.

IRS Free File

You can use the IRS Free File page to find free filing software offers. Offers cover free federal returns. Some also offer free filing for state returns. The page also has a lookup tool to help you see which software you qualify to use.  The following are all IRS Free File solutions:

  • NET
  • com Free File Edition
  • eSmart Free File Edition
  • com
  • com
  • FreeTax Returns.com
  • FreeTaxUSA IRS ® Free File Edition
  • H&R Block’s Free File
  • Online Taxes at OLT.com
  • TaxAct®Free File
  • TaxSlayer
  • TurboTax Free File Program

Some solutions have income limits that fall below the $66,000 range. Some are available only in select states. And others have age restrictions.  For details on who can and can’t use these solutions, visit the IRS Free File Software Offers page or use the lookup tool. Several are covered below. 1040NOW and ezTaxReturn are not covered due to more limited eligibility requirements.

A benefit of using software—or a preparer—is that the software hunts down tax credits and deductions for you

IRS Free File Fillable Forms

If you make more than $66,000 annually, are comfortable completing your own tax returns yourself, but aren’t into paper forms, you can use the IRS Free File Fillable Forms online. These forms are accessible from the IRS website and come with basic guidance. You’ll need your 2017 tax return. Note, this option doesn’t include state tax preparation. There are no income restrictions. So, you can use these forms, even if you make less than $66,000.

IRS Paper Forms

The most basic free option is to fill out the IRS paper tax forms and file them by mail. Note: While the forms and filing are free, this method does require you pay for postage. You can find your appropriate tax return form on the IRS website or at public locations like post offices and libraries.


1040.com offers an IRS Free File option for taxpayers under 52 who make less than $60,000 annually. It also offers a general free option. The general option offers interview-style tax preparation, a free update from your prior year—if you used 1040.com last year—and an auto-completed state return. Simple 1040EZ federal tax returns are filed for free. To qualify, you have to claim no dependents, have a taxable income less than $100,000 and fit other eligibility requirements. You can add your state return for free.

1040.com donates $2 to clean water projects for every return filed on 1040.com.

eSmart Tax

eSmart Tax is a subsidiary of Liberty Tax that offers the IRS Free File option for anyone 53 or younger with an AGI of $66,000 or less. eSmart Tax also offers free returns in several states for those who qualify for free federal returns. Paid services will file your federal and state returns for just $19.95 each.


FileYourTaxes.com offers free federal returns with the Free File Alliance. Most basic tax return forms are free, but customer service is limited to Q&A web pages and email notices. FIleYourTaxes.com does file free state returns for Iowa, Idaho, North Dakota and Vermont. The free version is available to taxpayers between the ages of 15 and 65 with adjusted gross incomes (AGIs) between $9,000 and $60,000.


An IRS Free File option, FreeTaxReturns.com provides federal filing with unlimited customer support. Federal extensions are also free. To qualify for a free filing, you must be age 70 or younger, make less than $66,000, and live in any state other than Florida, Indiana, New Hampshire, New Mexico, South Dakota, Texas, Washington, Washington DC or Oregon. Free state returns are available in some states as well.


FreeTaxUSA is an IRS Free File option for those with an AGI of $35,000 or less, who qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit or were on active military duty. It provides free federal returns and supports more advanced tax situations, such as investments, small businesses, rental property income and itemized deductions. Free filers get free customer support, but priority support, amended returns and audit assistance require upgrading to the paid version. Free filers in 22 states can also file their state return for free. Other filers pay $12.95 to file state returns.

H&R Block

With H&R Block’s Free File program, an IRS Free File option, you can file both federal and state tax returns for free if you are between 17 and 51 with an AGI of no more than $66,000, eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit or on active military duty. Users can import their tax returns from any competing software, directly upload tax documents and prepare and file their returns using any device. Help is available through H&R Block’s online help center.

H&R block also offers paid tax preparation. Due to tax reform, H&R Block has also added a tax reform center that is available in the navigation bar. It has resources about new tax laws in effect for the 2018 tax year.


OLT.com is another an IRS Free File option. OLT.com supports more 120 federal forms and provides free amended returns and free customer service by email. Filers of any age with incomes between $14,000 and $66,000 can use the free option. Those who qualify for the free federal returns can also file free state returns.


TaxAct provides free filing of 1040EZ and 1040A federal returns and state returns as an IRS Free File provider. Eligibility requires an AGI of $55,000 or less and being 56 or younger or qualifying for the Earned Income Tax Credit. Active military personnel quality with an AGI of $66,000 or less. Free federal filers also get free state returns.

TaxAct also offers paid preparation services of less than $50 for federal returns and less than $40 for state returns. The service has both an online and desktop version of its software. And a Q&A format guides you through your return. There’s unlimited phone and email support for both tax and software-related questions. Once you’ve filed, you can track your refund status directly through TaxAct.com.


TaxSlayer uses a step-by-step guided tax process to file free 1040EZ, 1040A and 1040 federal returns. You get W-2 and PDF imports and free email and phone support. While these filings are free for those 50 an under with an AGI of $66,000 or less, state returns cost $29. The exception is residents of Georgia, who can file a state return for free. Extensions are free for anyone using TaxSlayer. Paid preparation is also available for $17 for federal returns.


If your AGI is less than $34,000, you can use the TurboTax Free File Program to file your 1040 EZ and 1040A federal tax returns and state tax returns for free. You can upload your W-2 as a file or just snap a photo, and the TurboTax software can automatically populate the right fields. You answer TurboTax’s questions to work through your return and electronically file (e-file) when you’re done. TurboTax experts and other online contributors are available to answer questions 24×7.

TurboTax Free Edition also offers free filing for anyone filing a simple tax return. Paid preparation services start at $40.


eFile.com offers free filing for 1040EZ federal tax returns. It is an authorized IRS e-file provider, but not part of the IRS Free File program. You can use efile.com to file single or married jointly with your spouse. Both e-filing and print filing are supported. And efile.com provides free online support, including a team of “Taxperts.” State return filings are available for $23.95. There are restrictions. For instance, you can’t claim dependents, have a mortgage or make more than $100,000.

Jackson Hewitt

Jackson Hewitt offers several tiers of tax software, including a free version for federal and state returns. You can file for free if:

  • Your taxable income doesn’t exceed $100,000 and includes W-2 wages or unemployment only
  • You need a simple return
  • You’re single or married filing jointly
  • You take the standard deduction

For more complicated returns that include itemized deductions, dependents, student loan interest, self-employment, retirement income and other items, Jackson Hewitt offers paid services. With Jackson Hewitt paid services, you can also get an interest-free tax advance refund loan.

Free State Return Filing

If the free federal filing provider you choose doesn’t offer free state tax filing. Or you don’t qualify for free federal filing, many states provide free tax filing services for residents. For instance, Maryland residents can receive free income tax assistance and even free electronic filing in person or over the phone. If you’ve found the perfect free federal tax tool but still need a free state tax solution, you may want to check on the resources available through your state government’s website.

Free Tax Assistance Programs

For certain individuals with qualifying circumstances, federal and state programs can provide free tax assistance, including tax preparation and filing.

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program provides basic income tax return services to qualified individuals with disabilities or limited English fluency who make $54,000 or less. With this program, IRS-certified volunteers provide free basic federal tax return services, including tax preparation and e-filing.

The Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) offers free tax help to all taxpayers, especially those 60 years of age and older.

How to Choose the Right Tax Preparation Solution for You

Choosing the right tax preparation solution depends on your specific needs. Of course, key is that the solution supports your specific gross income and tax scenario. Beyond that, make sure the features you need—W-2 upload, prior year tax return imports, etc.—are supported. You may also want to look for 100% accuracy guarantees with a pledge that any fees or costs associated with mistakes are covered by the solution provider.

Mark Jaeger, director of Tax Development at TaxAct, provided a few additional tips for evaluating online DIY tax products.

Find the total price to file: Many tax software providers list the price for a federal return only. It can cost extra to file a state return. So it’s a good idea to calculate both to see what it will truly cost you to file your taxes.

Look for pricing protection: In many cases, tax filers begin a return and then decide to file later. According to Jaeger, some DIY tax providers “impose steep price increases throughout the filing season, forcing filers to pay more if they’ve started but not completed their tax returns.”

Look for hidden fees: Watch for common features, such as prior year tax imports, that can be hidden behind the login and only visible after you’ve started your return.

Save time with a W-2 import: Free tax prep products that offer W-2 imports “can save time and improve accuracy since filers won’t have to do as much manual data entry,” Jaeger said.

Look for unlimited phone or email support: Phone support is sometimes excluded from free tax software products.

Consider the importance of in-product help: “It’s common for filers to have questions as they prepare their income tax return,” Jaeger said. “Look for thorough in-product help.”

However you decide to file your taxes, check out these tips on maximizing your return and how to protect yourself from taxpayer identity theft.

This article was last published January 23, 2017, and has since been updated by another author.

The post The Ultimate How-To on Filing Your Taxes for Free appeared first on Credit.com.

Source: credit.com

How to Avoid Paying Taxes on Inherited Property

Elderly woman holds a model of a house in her handsInheriting a home or other property can increase the value of your estate but it can also result in tax consequences. If the property you inherit has appreciated in value since the original owner purchased it, you could be on the hook for capital gains tax should you choose to sell it. That could result in a large tax bill if there’s a sizable gap between the original purchase price and the price you’re able to sell the property for. There are some possibilities for how to avoid paying capital gains tax on inherited property which are worth considering if you’re the beneficiary of an estate or trust

Capital Gains Tax, Explained

Capital gains tax applies when an investment is sold for more than its original purchase price. Typically, you might think about capital gains tax in terms of selling stocks or other securities you hold inside your investment portfolio. So if you bought a stock for $2 per share and sold it for $5 per share, you’d owe capital gains on the $3 in profit you realized from the sale.

The IRS taxes capital gains differently, depending on how long you hold the underlying asset. The short-term capital gains tax rate applies to investments or assets you hold for less than one year. The long-term capital gains tax rate applies to investments or assets you hold longer than one year.

Between the two, the long-term capital gains tax rate is more favorable. Short-term capital gains are taxed at your ordinary income tax rate, whereas long-term capital gains are taxed at 0%, 15% or 20% tax rates, based on your filing status and taxable income for the year. So if you’re in a higher tax bracket, it typically makes more sense to hold investments longer to minimize the amount of capital gains tax you owe.

Capital Gains Tax Rules for Inherited Property

When inheriting property, such as a home or other real estate, the capital gains tax kicks in if you sell that asset at a higher price point than the person you inherited it from paid for it. Likewise, it’s possible to claim a capital loss deduction if you end up selling the property at a loss.

The difference with inherited property, however, is that the IRS allows you to use what’s known as a stepped-up basis for calculating capital gains tax liability. The step-up cost basis represents the value of the home when you inherit it versus its original purchase price.

For example, say your parents bought a home for $100,000 that’s worth $400,000 by the time you inherit it. Under ordinary capital gains tax rules, you’d owe tax on the $300,000 difference between what your parents paid for it and its current value.

That could result in a huge tax bill for you, which is why the IRS allows you to use the stepped-up basis instead. Assume that you don’t sell the home right away, for instance. You hold on to the property for two years, at which time you sell it for $450,000. Taking the step-up basis of $400,000 into account, you’d only pay capital gains on tax on the $50,000 in appreciation value.

That wouldn’t allow you to completely avoid paying capital gains taxes on inherited property, but using the step-up cost basis can reduce the amount of capital gains tax you’d owe.

How to Avoid Paying Capital Gains Tax On Inherited Property

Elderly home owner signs her will in front of a lawyer

If you stand to inherit property and you want to avoid paying taxes on it, there are three possible options for minimizing or eliminating capital gains tax altogether. The first is to simply sell the property as soon as you inherit it. By selling it right away, you aren’t leaving any room for the property to appreciate in value any further. So if you inherit your parents’ home and it’s worth $250,000, selling it right away could help you avoid capital gains tax if it’s still only worth $250,000 at the time of the sale.

That may not be ideal, however, if it was your parents’ wish or your desire to keep the home in the family. In that scenario, there’s a second option you can consider.

Instead of selling the home right away, you could move into it and make it your primary residence. You could then sell the home two years later, potentially excluding some or all of the capital gains from the sale.

The IRS allows single filers to exclude up to $250,000 in capital gains from the sale of a home, increasing that to $500,000 for married couples filing a joint return. The key is that you have to live in the home for at least two of the five years preceding the sale. So if you can envision yourself living in your parents’ home for at least two years, this is another way you might be able to avoid paying capital gains tax on the property.

A third option is to not sell the property and rent it out instead of living in it. This can be a little tricky, however, since there are still tax rules you have to observe. An inherited home that’s treated as an investment property for tax purposes would still be subject to capital gains tax if you decide to sell it. But you could defer paying those taxes if you complete a 1031 exchange to purchase another investment property to replace the one you’re selling.

Disclaiming an Inheritance to Avoid Capital Gains Tax

There’s one more possibility for how to avoid paying capital gains tax on inherited property. That’s simply choosing not to inherit it at all.

This is called disclaiming an inheritance and it’s something you can choose to do if you’d prefer not to get entangled in tax issues related to someone else’s estate. The downside, of course, is that once you formally disclaim an inheritance, you can’t go back and change your mind. Whatever property you forfeited would be passed on to the next person in line to inherit.

The Bottom Line

A houseInheriting property can trigger capital gains tax if you choose to sell it. And there are other taxes you may need to consider, such as state inheritance taxes. If the inherited property is a residence consider living in it for a few years before selling it. Alternatively, consider renting it. Talking to an estate planning attorney or a tax professional may be helpful if you stand to inherit assets from your parents or anyone else and you’re worried about owing Uncle Sam.

Tips for Estate Planning

  • Consider talking to a financial advisor about what you should be including in your own estate plan. If you don’t have a financial advisor yet, finding one doesn’t have to be complicated. SmartAsset’s financial advisor matching tool can help you connect with professional advisors in your local area in minutes. If you’re ready, get started now.
  • Property taxes in America are collected by local governments as well as the federal government. The money collected is generally used to support community safety, schools, infrastructure and other public projects. A property tax calculator can help you better understand the average cost of property taxes in your state and county.

Photo credit: ©iStock.com/AND-ONE, ©iStock.com/Dobrila Vignjevic, ©iStock.com/powerofforever

The post How to Avoid Paying Taxes on Inherited Property appeared first on SmartAsset Blog.

Source: smartasset.com

Home decor shop in Parkville started by two cousins from El Salvador – KMBC Kansas City

Home decor shop in Parkville started by two cousins from El Salvador  KMBC Kansas City

Source: kmbc.com

6 Essentials for an In-Home Movie Theater

While winter weather can make going outside seem less than inviting, you can entertain your family indoors with your favorite movies and shows in a home theater. With a little help, your theater setup might make the cold a little more bearable. Here are six must-haves for your home theater.

1. Theater Seating
Comfortable leather recliners with cushy armrests are a staple of any home theater. The amount of seats is reliant on the size of your space; viewers shouldn’t feel too cramped. Also, the distance you place them from your screen depends on the screen’s size. An easy way to determine seat distance is to take the horizontal length of your screen and multiply it by two to get the minimum distance. Multiply it by five to get the maximum distance. For example: A 60-inch screen would have a minimum distance of 120 inches, or ten feet, and a maximum distance of 300 inches, or 25 feet.

2. Video Projector
Installing a quality video projector can ensure that you and your viewers enjoy the best picture possible. Pay attention to the projector’s throw distance, or the distance at which it should be placed away from your screen. Also, consider how far down you should hang your projector and at what angle to tilt it. Most projectors have vertical lens shift, which allows you to adjust the projection regardless of how you mount your projector. For those that don’t, hang your projector with an extension pipe so that you can adjust the hanging distance to perfect the projected image.

3. Projector Screen and Lighting
For screen placement, pick a wall where light does not fall on it directly. You can even paint your walls a dark color to avoid glare. Mount the screen on your wall so the bottom is between two or three feet off the ground. This helps every seat in your theater achieve the perfect view. Try adding dimmable overhead lights to add an authentic cinema feeling.

4. Surround Sound
The most common speaker system for home theaters is 5.1 surround sound. This six-speaker system is comprised of five full-range speakers and one low-range speaker known as the woofer. The ideal setup for 5.1 surround sound is three speakers and the woofer toward the front of the room, with the remaining two on either side of the back end of the room. Place each speaker at least 20 inches from the wall. If six speakers seem excessive, try a simple three speaker setup with a speaker in front of your screen and two others to the left and right.

5. Sound Paneling and Acoustics
Rectangular windowless rooms generally have better acoustics than square ones, but you might not be able to remodel just for your home theater. Sound absorption panels to prevent echoes, although standard dry wall paneling is usually adequate acoustic material for home theaters. Installing carpeting may also improve the acoustics of your in-home theater and add a level of comfort for viewers.

6. Mini Fridge
Keep a small refrigerator in your home theater and stock it with refreshments that are easily accessible. After all, you won’t have to stand in line and worry about missing your movie when you’re home! You may also want to stock old movie favorites like popcorn and candy in a non-refrigerated unit in the theater. Just don’t eat too loudly during the movie.

With these home theater features, being snowed in this winter might not seem so bad!

The post 6 Essentials for an In-Home Movie Theater first appeared on Century 21®.

Source: century21.com

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