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As April 15, better known as “Tax Day”, draws closer, millions of taxpayers are scurrying to put the final touches on their federal tax return.
But before you click "send", there are various tax deductions that you may have overlooked:
Your money has been waiting patiently in state and federal treasuries, playing Angry Birds and reading the same issue of Men’s Health over and over again. But now it’s time to bring your money home!
Time is running out to file your income tax returns, so here are a few tips to ensure as many of your little green friends as possible make it home this spring.
According to reports, the majority of filers simply use the standard deduction rather than itemizing – which can leave many feeling short-changed. So keep in mind that if you just can’t be bothered with all of those numbers and decimal points, you can hire a professional do the legwork for you! Just remember: It's your money.
Note: This guest post was written by Jesse Campbell, counselor for Money Management International.
It’s always good to have options. It’s even better to choose the right option, particularly when it involves paying your federal income tax obligation.
With April 15th fast approaching, many are discovering that they have a tax liability they are not prepared to pay. Consumers who find themselves in this predicament do have some options, but it is critical to select the payment plan that is right for you.
If you cannot pay your tax bill by midnight on April 15, and you make no other arrangements, the IRS will obviously consider your payment, or lack of, as late. Because your balance owed is subject to interest and a monthly late payment penalty, it is in your best interest to pay in full as soon as you can to minimize the additional charges.
You may consider financing the full payment of your tax liability through loans, such as a home equity or personal loan from a financial institution, or obtaining a cash advance through your credit card. Believe it or not, the interest rate and any applicable fees charged by a bank or credit card can be lower than the combination of interest and penalties imposed by the Internal Revenue Code. Contact the IRS. They offer multiple payment agreements based on your circumstances. Some are short-term, while others are structured to stretch the payments over a longer period of time through an installment payment plan.
If you don’t find these options appealing, you can pay the amount due by credit card. That’s right, Uncle Sam allows you to charge your taxes, and at first glance this might appear to be the best alternative.
Before opting to charge the amount of your tax liability consider the following benefits and drawbacks associated with this option:
Additionally, some creditors are now paying close attention to the charging patterns of their customers, and could consider someone an increased risk if they charge their taxes. This could result in punitive term changes to your account in the form of an increased interest rate or a lowered credit line. Consumers need to weigh the considerable downsides to paying their taxes with their credit card before selecting this option.
This guest post was provided by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC). Money Management International is a member of the NFCC. The NFCC is the nation’s largest and longest serving national nonprofit credit counseling organization. NFCC Members annually help over three million consumers through close to 800 community-based offices nationwide.
Thanks to Congress extending the payroll tax cut, millions of Americans will continue to receive a fatter paycheck. However, a recent National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) poll revealed that 66 percent of workers did not realize that their paychecks were larger, in spite of the 2 percent payroll tax cut having been in place for more than a year.
In 2012, the maximum amount of earnings subject to the Social Security tax increased to $110,100 — up from $106,800 in 2011. The tax cut will put a significant amount of money back into the hands of consumers. For example, for those earning the maximum, the two percent reduction translates into a tax savings of more than $2200 annually. Even workers making $50,000 – approximately half of that amount – will see an additional $1,000 in their paychecks over the course of the year. This is money that can be put to good use, but only if consumers are aware it’s there.
This leaves employers with a unique opportunity to exercise corporate responsibility by offering financial education to their employees, starting with a solid understanding of how the payroll tax cut funds can be put to good use.
MMI challenges businesses to act upon this opportunity, noting that it offers advantages for not only the employee, but also the employer. In fact, the financial educators at MMI have made it easy for employers to offer their employees financial education through our comprehensive Financial Solutions program.
The program is designed to help employers, credit unions, banks and community organizations assist their employees, members and customers by providing financial education programs that address the most prevalent financial hardships and issues impacting individuals and families.
Debt is often the main stumbling block standing between an employee and financial stability. A financial education workshop is the ideal place to illustrate the meaningful impact that putting the payroll tax cut money toward debt repayment can have on overall financial health.
Money Management International is a member of the NFCC. The NFCC is the nation’s largest and longest serving national nonprofit credit counseling organization. NFCC Members annually help over three million consumers through close to 800 community-based offices nationwide.
Did you know that your paychecks in 2011 were a bit heftier than in years past? If you didn’t, then you’re not alone. According to a January poll conducted by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC), 66 percent of respondents did not realize that, thanks to a 2 percent Social Security tax cut, their paychecks were larger this past year.
The problem is, if consumers find it that easy to overlook more money in their paycheck, they are likely overlooking the impact their spending habits – even buying one cup of coffee a day – can have on their overall financial situation.
If you’re wondering how much money a two-percent tax cut really amounts to, consider this: The 2 percent Social Security payroll tax cut puts $1,000 back into the pockets of a family earning $50,000 annually – a significant amount of money that could mean the difference between financial stability and financial distress each month.
Those aware of the increase appeared to have allocated the money responsibly, with the largest number of respondents indicating they used it to pay off debt, while the second-largest number caught up on past-due bills. Smaller percentages of respondents either increased their retirement contributions or saved the money. Only 1 percent indicated that they spent the money on something for themselves.
It’s important to remember that the key to financial wellness is having a solid budget – you have to be aware of every penny you spend and every penny you earn.
The January poll questions and answers are as follows:
With the 2011 two percentage point payroll tax cut, last year I …
The NFCC’s January Financial Literacy Opinion Index was conducted from Jan. 1 to Jan. 31, 2012 via the NFCC website (DebtAdvice.org), and was answered by 1,797 individuals.
You may have a good idea of where your money is going on a day-to-day basis, but before you start working on a spending plan or budget, it is important to call attention to the number one budget breaker: periodic expenses.
Have you thought about your taxes yet? If you’re like many Americans, you will procrastinate as long as you can—especially if you suspect that you might owe the IRS. But calculating your taxes before the deadline doesn’t mean you have to file early. What it does mean is that you’ll have more time to prepare for the results.
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