Online updates

June 1, 2007

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BONDS
At least they're better than your mattress

If whispers of the "I word" (inflation) had you rushing into I bonds (inflation-adjusted), you may be disappointed in their recent performance. The federal government's inflation-fighters are looking a bit wimpy compared to the returns of certificates of deposit, another low-risk investment. The I bonds will earn only 3.74 percent interest if issued between May and October, a drop from 4.52 percent for those issued in the previous six months. Rates on the bonds are reset every six months, on May 1 and Nov. 1. A 12-month CD, on the other hand, is generally paying about 5 percent these days.

TECHNOLOGY
Online U 4 IT

CMS is offering free web-based help for physicians eager to learn how to use health information technology. DOQ-IT (Doctor's Office Quality Information Technology) is an e-learning program with sections on how to assess your office's readiness, redesign workflow, choose a vendor, and implement electronic health records. To sign up, go to elearning.qualitynet.org. Registration is free.

TAXES
It's not too late to "go green"

If gas prices are making you shudder, buy a qualified hybrid from Toyota or Lexus before Sept. 30 and you can still get a tax credit of up to $787.50, depending on the model you pick. Can't decide that soon? After September, you can still get a tax break for one of Ford's or General Motor's hybrids, plus those from other manufacturers. The credits are subject to certain restrictions, so check with your accountant for full details.

Uncle Sam thanks you!

Vehicle (all 2007s)Amount of credit
Ford Escape Hybrid 2WD$2,600
Nissan Altima Hybrid2,350
Honda Civic Hybrid CVT2,100
Mercury Mariner 4WD Hybrid1,950
Saturn Aura Hybrid1,300
Honda Accord Hybrid AT1,300