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Showing items Tagged with: tax refund
  • Seven costly tax return mistakes
    Submitted by: Jesse Campbell on February 01, 2017

    Piggy bank sitting on top of a pile of tax return forms 

    As you prepare to complete your tax return, do your best to avoid making the following common mistakes.

  • Your tax refund horoscope
    Submitted by: Jesse Campbell on February 25, 2015

    Your tax refund horoscope 

    Not sure what to do with your tax refund? You could always consult with a financial planner. But if you're feeling a bit more astrological let's see what the stars tell us you should do...

  • The case against receiving a tax refund
    Submitted by: Jesse Campbell on March 25, 2014

    The case against receiving a tax refund

    Many Americans knowingly overpay on their taxes, and then treat their tax return as an annual bonus, rather than what it really is – your money being returned to you.

  • Six reasons why you should file your tax return early
    Submitted by: Jesse Campbell on January 14, 2014

    Woman not prepared to file her tax return

    Yes, you’ve got months to submit your return, but you can complete your return right now and there are at least six compelling reasons why you should do so.

  • Maximize your tax refund
    Submitted by: Jesse Campbell on March 28, 2012

    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. Collect you money

    • Plan in advance. This one might be off the table for this year, but it’s never too early to start planning for next year. You should begin by keeping accurate, organized records. It’s also important to remain informed of tax laws and how they could affect you.
    • Deduct for charitable donations. There's no denying that giving feels good (except for giving blood, which makes me feel terrible no matter how many shortbread cookies and juice boxes they press into my numb hands). And luckily the IRS wants to reward you for your charitable donations in the form of a deduction. Just make sure you give to a tax-exempt organization that can provide you with a letter detailing the donation. Your roommate’s bongos are a good place to start.
    • Deduct for losses occurring due to disaster or theft. The key to this deduction is that the event that caused the loss must be “identifiable, unexpected and unusual.” This includes car accidents, natural disasters and vandalism, but it does not include natural deterioration or your house cat’s unwavering belief that picture frames, vases and collectible plates belong on the floor, not the shelf, thank you very much.
    • Deduct for job search expenses. You can only deduct for expenses accrued on the job hunt if you’re seeking the same position, but with a different company. First-timers and people looking to shift into a new industry are, unfortunately, out of luck. Be sure you keep receipts and records for every cost associated with the process. Related costs could include printing and mailing résumés, transportation to and from interview locations, and fees paid to employment agencies. Phone calls to and from your prospective employers are even tax-deductible, though you should probably still avoid the urge to call every 20 minutes to ask if they’ve hired you yet.
    • Take the time to know what deductions you qualify for. So maybe your bike was stolen because you forgot to chain it up, or maybe your Uncle Carl isn’t exactly as “tax-exempt” as he claims to be. You may still qualify for certain deductions! Do you pay interest on a home mortgage? Do you pay union dues? Do you have to purchase and clean your own uniform for work? Familiarize yourself with the available credits and deductions for the tax year to ensure you’re not cheating yourself out of extra cash.

    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.

  • The high cost of tax refund loans
    Submitted by: sitecore\kmcgrigg on January 28, 2010

    It’s tax time and that means payday for many American workers expecting a tax refund. After a tough economic year, many cash-strapped taxpayers may be feeling a bit desperate and don’t want to wait longer than necessary to get their money. Unfortunately, this could drive consumers struggling to make ends meet to seek a refund anticipation loan.

    Basically, a refund anticipation loan is a short-term cash advance that uses your expected tax refund as collateral. The loans allow you get your money a little bit earlier, but at a hefty price. According to consumer advocates, refund anticipation loans fees translate into high Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) of 50% to 500%.

    Low- to moderate-income taxpayers are usually the target of tax refund anticipation loans. These consumers end up paying a total of more than $900 million in fees for their easy money. Although the IRS does not take an official stand on refund anticipation loans, it also does not endorse the practice. Unless someone is facing a true financial emergency, the fees are just not worth the convenience. Instead, taxpayers should consider taking steps to ensure they receive the maximum amount owed to them:

    • Double-check your work. According to the IRS, even a small mistake can cause problems with your tax return, which might lead to delays in processing your return and receiving your refund.
    • Use Free File. A new service offered by the IRS, which enables low and middle income taxpayers to file electronically for free and have their refund deposited directly in their checking or savings accounts in about 10 business days.
    • Take tax credits. The IRS announced several new benefits this year like the Recovery Rebate Credit and the First-Time Homebuyer Credit – offering a tax credit up to $7,500. Visit IRS.gov to learn more about other tax credits and benefits.
    • Remember your charitable donations. The IRS might just be the only group that will give you extra credit just for being nice. The value of all donated items including clothes, furniture, and cash is deductible. Proof of the donation is required.

    Finally, if you are anticipating a tax refund for more than $500, consider reducing the withholding on your W-4. Calculators at IRS.gov can help you figure your appropriate amount. More money on your paycheck will help during this time of economic recovery.

  • Where's your refund?
    Submitted by: sitecore\kmcgrigg on March 04, 2009
    If you are like many Americans, you are probably anxiously awaiting your tax refund from the Government. Instead of stalking the mailman, try using the IRS’s Where’s My Refund feature. It is free to track your refund through this secure Web site.

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