News In Brief

IT'S PURE COINCIDENCE, OK?

He is the House Democratic leader and has represented the St. Louis suburbs in Congress since 1977. Yet, although he's one of the US's highest-profile politicians, Rep. Richard A. Gephardt is asking to go back and better identify himself on the Aug. 8 primary ballot as he seeks reelection from Missouri's Third District. That's because, on the last day it was possible to file for office, he picked up a challenger from his own party's ranks: Richard A. Gebhardt. Gephardt now wants to be listed as "Richard A. (Dick)" and says Gebhardt is a "dirty tricks" plant by Republicans to confuse voters. Not so, says the state GOP chairwoman, adding: "We do not file shill candidates."

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DON'T BE CRUEL; VOTE FOR ME

When folks go to the polls in rural Phillips, Wis., tomorrow they could elect Elvis Presley as their mayor. Well, OK, it's his adopted name and he's a write-in candidate. But he says his foray into elective politics is as serious as his impersonation of the rock 'n' roll legend.

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What NOT to do when filling out your federal tax forms

Out of the 125 million or so tax returns submitted last year, almost 1.7 million had some sort of problem with Social Security numbers. Maybe the digits were mixed up, maybe the information was left off altogether - or maybe the taxpayer forgot to list the SSNs for dependents. Whatever the case, they account for the top error on tax forms, says an Internal Revenue Service spokesman. Here are other common errors to avoid:

Making math miscalculations, especially when claiming an earned-income tax credit.

Forgetting to sign and date the tax return. If a joint return is filed, both spouses must sign even if one had no income to report.

Failing to attach the proper paperwork, such as a W-2 form.

Reporting income in the wrong place. For example, many filers report earnings from money-market funds as interest when the IRS can consider it a dividend.

Declaring a state tax refund from last year as income (it isn't).

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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