Sons are more costly than daughters, at least when it comes to car insurance.
According to Consumer Reports magazine, the cost of automobile coverage for New York State parents who include their 17-year-old son range from $2,187 to $4,766. And that's if he hasn't been ticketed. The range increases to $7,478 if the son has one speeding conviction.
The same parents and their 17-year-old daughter with a clean record would be charged $1,872 to $3,742. If she has a speeding ticket on her record, the premium can jump to $6,446.
But if parents want to find the lowest rates, Consumer Reports magazine thinks it can help.
It is marketing Auto Insurance Price Service, which for $12 will tell a consumer the cheapest rates available to them based on their address, driving history, age and sex.
The service is available at 1-800-808-4912.
One way to cut rates is to move, the magazine indicates. New York State rates are the fifth highest in the nation, it says.
By the way, that home computer may be tax-deductable.
If the computer is required as a condition of employment, it can be written off, says Freed Maxick Sachs & Murphy, a Buffalo certified accounting firm.
That means it can be deducted if it is needed to perform job duties.
Tax amnesty season
New York is offering "once in a lifetime" tax amnesty -- again.
Between Nov. 1 and Jan. 31, the state Department of Taxation & Finance will allow eligible taxpayers to satisfy certain unpaid liabilities.
In exchange for full payment of tax and interest due, taxpayers receive a waiver of penalty.
Amnesty may be granted on taxes due prior to Jan. 1, 1995. The department also offered amnesty programs in 1994, 1993 and one that spanned 1985 and 1986. To apply for tax amnesty for an existing assessment, taxpayers can call 888-2PAYNYS. Applications must be postmarked by Jan. 31.
Buying a car online
And if you're buying a car, it's never been easier. That is if you've already bought a personal computer with Internet access.
ComputerLife magazine has just reviewed the best compact discs and web sites for car shopping, and they can save you time and money, according to the magazine.
The magazine's online page can be visited using the keyword "LIFE" on America Online or via the Internet by (www.computerlife.com). The online page will link you to the web sites reviewed.
The magazine recommends visiting these CD-ROMs: Consumer Reports Cars followed by JDPowerguide to Automobiles and Edmund's New Car Prices & Reviews and Automania. It likes web sites called Car Talk.com, which lists notes on test drives and complaints from the popular Car Talk on public radio; Edmund's Automobile Buyer's Guides, which provides details on new and used cars; and Auto-by-Tel, which connects you with a nearby car dealer.
Everybody's copying OneSource
If imitation is the highest form of flattery, Charles Schwab Corp.'s OneSource program is much admired by its competitors.
Under OneSource, Schwab sells hundreds of no-load funds at no fee. Clients like being able to switch from fund to fund for free, which has helped boost OneSource assets to over $32 billion since the program started in 1992.
First, Fidelity Investments copied the idea. Now, Quick & Reilly Inc. says it also plans to offer investors a wide variety of no-load mutual funds from different money managers by year's end. Similar announcements have come from Paine Webber Group Inc., Merrill Lynch & Co. and Prudential Securities Inc.