All Articles Tagged "refund"

Nine Online Tax Preparation Resources To Help You Get Through April 15

February 25th, 2013 - By Blair Bedford
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Everyone’s looking for the best possible refund from their taxes this season, and the best service to use to get the most money back. With an average of $3000 as the tax refund for most filers in 2012, Americans are looking for better and faster ways to maximize refunds in 2013, with many filers looking online for preparation resources.

If you are still looking for tax preparation resources, an e-filing service or a reliable tax calculator to help you out this season, do your research on these nine online tax preparation services.

The Ten Wisest Investments And Purchases This Tax Season

February 19th, 2013 - By Blair Bedford
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Tax refunds help Americans in more ways than one. Instead of spending on shoes, clothes and other frivolous items, many Americans are looking forward to their tax money being spent on bills, past due payments and their families, especially with the economic outlook of 2013 and its impact on American spending. Even the IRS has been having trouble keeping up with the influx of tax return requests, asking taxpayers to give them more time to complete filings, which could slow down your refund.

There are about seven weeks left until the final April 15 deadline. But with so many people getting a jump, it’s not too soon to give some thought to how best to use that refund. Find better ways to spend your tax dollars this season, and even get ahead for next year’s tax season, with these wise tax season purchases and investments. You’ll be glad you took the time (and money) to do so!

Subpar Service and Defective Products Got You Angry? How to Complain And Get What You Want

September 27th, 2012 - By Ann Brown
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Have you ever gotten bad service at a restaurant? Didn’t get what you expected when you bought a product? You could complain, but you need to know how to complain correctly in order to get what you want.

According to U.S.  News & World Report (via MSN), there are four steps to take:

1. Write it down:  Have a written record of what happened. This, notes U.S. News, “allows you to organize your thoughts into a powerful argument. It also allows you to put both the damage and your requested solution into proper perspective.” You will also have all the details on hand when you need them.

2. Stick with the facts: Don’t exaggerate. “If you have the facts on your side, your case is much stronger,” states the article. “You’ll begin by stating what happened: what was promised to you and who made the promise; what was delivered and how it differed from the promise. Be clear on how the promise differed from the results.” Make sure all the details are precise.

3. Know who can resolve your complaint: Complaining to the wrong person will get you nowhere. Always ask for a supervisor or manager—someone who can make decisions.  Sometimes it isn´t easy, however, to get to the right person. “That might take some detective work, such as a phone call to the store to find out the manager’s name or an Internet search to identify the CEO. But be realistic when you choose your problem solver,” reports U.S. News. “A $10 problem should be resolved by the store manager, not a corporate officer.”

4. Know what you want: Don’t just complain for complaining’s sake. Complain to get what you want.  “Unless your goal is just to be heard, know exactly what you want to resolve the matter. Are you looking for a replacement product? A refund? An apology from the company?” according to U.S. News. And be prepared to negotiate. You may simply ask and receive, but you may have to settle for less.  “Know in advance what the minimum is that would make you happy,” the article advises.

Lessons We Learned This Tax Season: Why You Don’t Really Want a Tax Refund

April 16th, 2012 - By P.S. Jones
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As this year’s tax deadline has arrived, many of you have already filed your personal income taxes for 2011. Some of you even filed extra early because you had a big refund coming. But here’s something you should remember about tax refunds: if you’re getting a refund, you’re probably doing something wrong.

Here’s the way your income taxes work. When you start a job, you fill out a W-9 tax form that tells your employer how much you’d like him to withhold from your paychecks to send the IRS in anticipation of your tax obligation. When you file your income taxes the next spring, the IRS compares what you actually owe to what you’ve already paid through paycheck withholding. You only get a refund if you paid too much.

Of course, getting money back is obviously better than owing money. But a tax refund isn’t a bonus. It’s the money you overpaid. It’s just that you’ve essentially allowed the government to hold onto that money all year. They didn’t pay you interest on it. They didn’t give you a nice card. They didn’t even say thank you. They just sent you a check like they’ve done you some sort of favor.

Now some people can’t save any other way or just prefer to receive this money in one big lump sum every year. But if you’re someone who doesn’t need the government to hold your money all year and then hand it back to you when they’re ready, you don’t really want a tax refund. Instead, you could use that extra money to live on throughout the year. Or you could invest it and earn money on it. If that sounds better to you, you should fill out your W-9 tax form in a way that limits the amount your employer takes out of your paycheck so that you’re about even at the end of the year.

Fortunately, the IRS has an online withholding calculator to help you figure out how much you should be sending in from your checks. Using it, you can adjust your W-9 tax form so that you’re paying just what you owe instead of overpaying.

More on Madame Noire!

5 Tax Lessons I Learned After Finding Out I Owed the Government

March 27th, 2012 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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Man. I had big plans for my imaginary money.

Every year around this time, since college I would say, I’ve filed taxes, and whether it was an extra $200 to spend on crap, or $1,000 to save…and spend…I’ve always received an income tax return to get giddy about and proudly done the taxes on my own. But this year was a big ‘ol FAIL. Though I had made plans in my head to buy everything from new eyeglasses to a trendy bicycle for the summer with the income tax return I was assuming would come my way after a particularly tough year, that money is going to go the OTHER way on April 15. Come to find out that my year of big moves and switching and ditching jobs has come back to bite me in the butt, and now I owe both the states I live(d) in, and the federal government. Though I was very disappointed by this, I’ve learned a few things that will probably help others too, and make tax season of next year a much more joyous occasion–as it should be (you know, joyous when YOU get your check).

Keep Track of EVERYTHING. Seriously, everything.

In the midst of moving from Chicago to NYC, I gave up piles of clothing to Goodwill, and spent a hefty amount on gas and other moving expenses, but when it was time to start claiming deductions, I had none of the receipts for these things in my possession. FAIL. I’m one of those people who shreds receipts or gets rid of them ASAP, but after watching the chick at H&R Block give me the sad/boo boo face because I couldn’t prove I spent money on a laptop for freelancing purposes, I won’t make that same mistake twice. Everything counts. Keep it and throw it in the face of the government next year, folks.

Be Careful Doing Freelance Work

So I wrote a few stories for a few months for a few people. No big deal, right? Psych. The 1099 I received played a huge part in the fact that I owed the government taxes, because none were taken out for these services. I’m not saying don’t ever freelance, but just be mindful of the fact that this “self-employment” might come back to kick you in the butt, and can even require more complex tax programs and rack on extra charges when you’re trying to navigate Turbo Tax and more.

Get Your Taxes Done Early if You Need Help

I’m not going to lie, the amount of money I paid to get all my taxes done (two states and federal) was way more than I would have liked or even thought it would be. If you know you need to hit up the local H&R Block or other local tax service places, try and get help early so you can take advantage of deals and bargains for early birds. I would also encourage hustling your friends or family members who have tax experience to help you out for the low low if you know your tax situation is a bit more complex than usual.

Get Your W-4 In Order

After being told I owed money instead of being owed money, I was instructed to check with my employer and make sure my W-4 was up-to-date and that my number of dependents was correct. When filling out a 800-page packet the first day at your job, it’s probably overwhelming and you might not even remember what the hell you put for dependents. So to be on the safe side, make sure everything is right and in order so you don’t get a big surprise when you’re finishing up your income tax returns next year. If you know you don’t want much being taken out of your check during the year, then you probably won’t trip when you have to pay folks back, but if you weren’t really trying to duck and dodge your tax responsibilities, then this can be a nightmare-ish mistake.

Hey, In the End, Count Your Blessings

I could be really enraged as I was the minute I saw all those numbers written in red, but it was a Sunday and I had just come from church. In situations such as this one, what made me feel better was knowing that I was still a very lucky and blessed individual. If I really need some money, it will find its way in my account somehow (heeeeeey Mom…), so there was no reason to necessarily go postal. I still have a roof over my head and food in my stomach so hey…the government can have their funky money. For now.

More on Madame Noire!

Tax-Day Freebies!

April 15th, 2010 - By TheEditor
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( — Still scrambling to file your taxes or waiting (still) on your refund? Companies around the country are trying to relieve the Tax Day sting with freebies and special deals.

Free brewed coffee. Stop by your corner Starbucks (SBUXFortune 500) with a travel mug for a free fill-up. The deal is part of the coffee chain’s worldwide move to encourage customers to go green by switching from paper cups to reusable mugs.

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