Em: HE Dolan family preview
"Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" provides a new, user-friendly home for a father of three whose eyesight was taken away by a workplace shooting on this episode that airs, Sunday, May 1 (7:00-9:00 PM) on ABC.
In November 2004, James Dolan of St. Petersburg, Florida made news because the unthinkable happened -- a deranged man with a gun walked into the electronics store where he worked and opened fire. In fifteen seconds that would forever change the lives of the Dolan family, three people died, including the gunman, who had shot James in the head. Miraculously James survived, but without his eyesight. Now James is in the news again, but for a much happier reason. He and his family are the recipients of an "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," in an episode to air SUNDAY, MAY 1 (8:00-9:00 p.m. ET), on the ABC Television Network.
The design team will replace the Dolans' 1960s-era ranch house with a brand new home that's more navigation-friendly for him.
James and his wife, Chrissy, have been together since they were teenagers, and were thrilled when they were able to afford to buy James' childhood home to raise their own children. But money was tight, so James did what he thought was best for his family and took on a second job as a manager at the electronics store.
Although the victim of a heinous crime, James is thankful that he's alive and still able to be with his wife and children every day. At the same time he feels like he's been failing them, no longer able to manage the upkeep of their home. James was naturally handy, and he enjoyed fixing up the house. But now everyday tasks like getting something to eat or drink, or turning on lights for his children have become difficult to accomplish. Bigger tasks -- such as fixing the roof -- are impossible.
The design team, homebuilder Lexington Homes, contractors and over 1000 workers and volunteers will overhaul the Dolans' 1846-square-foot home in a just seven days. In its place will be a new 4,487-square-foot home with features that address James' other senses, especially touch and hearing. As safety is a concern, elements like rounded corners on countertops will be incorporated.
While the renovation takes place, James, his wife Chrissy and their children -- Charlie, 12, Haley, 6, J.T., 3 -- and Chrissy's brother, Phil Yeager and his fiancie, Lauren Schneider, who have both been a source of support for the family -- will go on vacation to the Westin Rio Mar Beach and Golf Resort in Puerto Rico.
The design team for this episode of "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" features team leader Ty Pennington, Paul DiMeo, Constance Ramos, Preston Sharp and Eduardo Xol. The series is produced by Endemol USA, a division of Endemol Holding. David Goldberg is the president of Endemol USA. It's executive-produced by Tom Forman. This program carries a TV-PG parental guideline.
For information and resources on helping needy families like the Dolan family, log onto ABC.com, keyword Home Makeover, where you can link to the A Better Community website for a list of non-profit organizations/charities and for information on getting involved and making a donation.
EXTREME MAKEOVER: HOME EDITION
Episode: The Dolan Family
Time: 7:00-9:00 PM
aka "Corgi Mom"
Interesting article on the front page of yesterday's paper
A Harsh Tax Makeover
By STEVEN ISBITTS, ADAM EMERSON and DAVID SOMMER The Tampa Tribune
Published: Apr 28, 2005
ST. PETERSBURG - First the disadvantaged family wins a complete house renovation, furniture, appliances and other amenities on ``Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.''
Then come the tax bills - drastically increased property taxes and likely a six-figure income tax bill due the Internal Revenue Service.
Winners dealing with greatly rising taxes is one reality that is not mentioned during the hit ABC reality TV show, which features the Dolan family of St. Petersburg in its next episode, airing 8 p.m. Sunday.
James Dolan, 30, was blinded in November when he was shot in the head while working at a St. Petersburg RadioShack as a manager-in- training.
``We are pretty up front with our families about taxes before we start. We encourage them to go to their own tax attorneys and use our accountant,'' said Tom Forman, executive producer of ``Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,'' produced by Endemol USA and purchased by ABC.
``We want them to know what they are getting into,'' Forman said. ``As families move along in the process from applicant to someone on our short list, there are mountains of paperwork, and discussing taxes is part of it.''
At the time of the RadioShack shooting, Dolan was living in a small, 44-year-old house on 99th Way with his wife and three young children.
For 2004, the Pinellas County property appraiser assessed the value of the house at $131,100.
Thanks to the show, the Dolans live on the same parcel of land but in the fanciest house in the neighborhood: a home with 3,500-square-feet of enclosed living space that is twice the size of their old place. It was was built in less than one week in March by a team of local contractors.
Property Tax Cap Doesn't Help
The Dolans' property tax bill will not be affected in 2005, but for 2006 it could be at least three times the roughly $2,000 they will owe for this year.
The new house would be worth about $450,000 in a neighborhood where that type of house typically is found, said Craig Gallagher, president of Lexington Homes of New Port Richey, the contractor that built the house and donated a majority of the building costs.
Florida's Save-Our-Homes cap, which limits property tax increases on a Floridian's primary residence, is not applicable to the new house.
``A full renovation, in effect, eliminates the cap,'' said Jim Smith, Pinellas County's property appraiser.
There is not much the Dolans can do to avoid a significant increase in their property taxes, said Beth Daniels, a Clearwater lawyer who specializes in challenging county assessments.
By law, Smith's office must evaluate the Dolans' new home based on eight criteria including construction quality, square footage, replacement value and the price a property likely would command on the open market, Daniels said.
The tragedy that befell the family when Dolan was shot and blinded is not a factor that can be considered, she said.
Because their new home is in an older neighborhood of smaller homes, that could keep the appraised value down, Daniels said.
``What you spend to build it is not necessarily indicative of what it's worth to an actual buyer,'' she said: In that price range, a home buyer might prefer to live in a neighborhood among similarly valued homes.
Income Tax Loophole In Doubt
As for federal income taxes, Forman said that Endemol USA informed the Dolans and past show winners that they will not have to pay the IRS for receiving a new house.
Many tax experts, though, are skeptical of the tax loophole cited by Endemol.
Forman said Endemol informs show applicants that the U.S. tax code states that income, including home improvements, derived while renting a primary residence for less than 15 days is not taxable.
To produce its programs, Endemol USA rents the homeowner's property for less than 15 days, during which it is radically remodeled or razed and a new home is constructed using round-the-clock labor.
``The IRS is not commenting on `Extreme Makeover,' '' IRS spokeswoman Gloria Sutton said.
When asked about taxes incurred by show winners, ABC spokeswoman Marsha Smith said, ``ABC does not answer those questions.''
Janice McClendon, a tax law professor at Stetson University College of Law, calls Endemol's tax loophole argument ``silly.''
It does not matter if the payment comes in cash or in appliances, she said. ``Lease payments are income to the recipient.''
The Internal Revenue Service could charge the Dolans up to 35 percent of the value of the home and its contents.
However, enforcing income-tax payments from the Dolans or from others featured on the ABC show may be an unpopular move for the IRS, McClendon said. In recent years, the agency has worked to improve its public image.
``I'm not sure the service wants to get in this can of worms,'' McClendon said.
It may be too early to compute the income tax implications of ``Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,'' which has aired 38 shows since its debut in December 2003. Many of the show's award winners only recently have filed their 2004 federal income tax returns.
Community Pitches In
The Dolan family, which according to family spokesman Ric Cornelius has raised more than $60,000 in a family trust, declined requests to be interviewed for this story.
Cornelius said the Dolans are making preparations for future taxes and have been consulting with tax experts.
The Dolans are carrying a $134,000 mortgage financed in 2003, according to Pinellas County court records.
``We are working to keep them in the house,'' Cornelius said. ``After all they have been through, taxes are not their first priority.
``James has been spending a lot of time training with his [service] dog, and the family is enjoying the house and adjusting to their new life.''
During Sunday's telecast, viewers will see the Dolans presented with a check for $100,000 for future expenses.
Cornelius and Craig Gallagher, the Lexington Homes president, said that if the money raised through donations is not enough to cover the Dolans' tax bills, they are confident the community will step up to support the family.
Forman said no ``Extreme Makeover: Home Edition'' winners have sold their houses for any reason, but they are not obligated to keep them.
``We customize each house so much to meet their needs that I don't think anyone wants to leave,'' Forman said.
``That's the whole show. These are real families living real lives, and they will choose to do what they want with their property.''
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