Taxes

Five Good Ways to Spend a Tax Refund, and Five Bad Ways

Many people treat a tax refund as “found money” or “free money.” What they don’t realize is that it’s their money, and always was. The money was an overpayment of taxes owed, which the government was happy to receive as an interest-free short-term loan. Once you start thinking of your tax refund as a portion of your income, and not as free money, you’ll rethink the way you…
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What to Expect from the Tax Deal

So, Congress has passed the tax deal and Obama has signed it. In case you weren’t paying attention to all the whining and cajoling that’s been going on for the last month, here’s what you need to do know about the “tax cut” as it’s being called. Your Tax Bracket Won’t Change The Bush-era tax cuts have been extended for another two years, which means your tax bracket…
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Do Year-End Tax Prep in Mid-November

Today we take a break from holiday stress for something new. Tax stress! The last two years, my husband and I completed the draft tax forms to make sure our withholding was correct. Both years, it wasn’t, so we made arrangements to fix that. Now is the best time to do a bit of tax prep to ensure that you don’t receive a penalty, or at the very…
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No More Mailed Tax Forms

Late last week, the IRS announced that it will no longer be mailing tax forms. Apparently, they only mailed the forms to 8% of the population last year, and not mailing the forms will save $10 million. That’s not a small amount. If you really, really, really want to file on paper, you’ll still be able to get them at the post office or library, but it’s probably faster…
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Tax Day Giveaway and How Will You Spend Your Refund?

It’s almost tax day. Have you filed already? Are you getting a refund or do you owe? If you’re getting a refund, how are you planning to spend it? Also, I have a special giveaway for you, my dear readers. Giveaway Details First, let’s start with a special Tax Day giveaway. On April 15, McCormick & Schmick’s restaurant locations nationwide will be featuring several $10.40 dinner specials in…
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2011 H&R Block Online Tax Software Review

I spoke too soon! Shortly after I prepared my taxes, H&R Block offered me a copy of their online software to review. They also offered me five Premium edition  codes to give away. This will allow you to file a free Federal online return using the Premium version of the software, a $55 value including sales tax. State returns are an additional fee. I haven’t been paid for this review…
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How the Home Office Deduction Works

With the economy in a slump, more and more people are trying to take the home office deduction. Unfortunately, most of them don’t actually qualify and are setting themselves up for an audit. If you’ve taken the deduction already or wonder if you’re eligible, here’s what you need to know so you can have all your information ready for next April’s taxes. Who Qualifies for the Home Office…
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Tax Day Freebies

If you’re getting a refund, you’ve hopefully already filed your tax return. Why let the government keep that money any longer than you need to? If you’re a procrastinator, I hope you’ll make use of online tax software – I have reviews of TaxAct, TurboTax, and H&R Block at Home to help you decide. And to keep you fueled while burning the midnight oil, or to help you celebrate the fact that…
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401K and IRA Strategies During the Financial Crisis

I’ve purposely not looked at my 401K account this week. I did check it a month ago to see if I needed to rebalance. At that time, I’d lost 2% less than the broader market and was well-diversified, so I didn’t change anything. I still don’t plan to. There are still a few things you should do about your investments during this crisis, however. Don’t Panic I know it’s…
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