Archive for February, 2013

4 Smart Ways to Spend Your Tax Refund

Posted on February 28, 2013 by Saldutti

Despite the late start to this year’s tax season, refund checks are already rolling in. About 75% of taxpayers are expected to receive refunds this year, according to estimates from the IRS, with the average check coming out to about $3,000. As this winter windfall arrives, Americans wrestle with competing desires to spend, save, or invest the cash. Many people say they are being responsible with their refunds: 42% plan to use the money to pay down debt and cover bills and 25% plan to save it, according to a 2012 survey by TurboTax. Others are splurging: 15% of taxpayers…

Financial Freedom in 2013

Posted on February 26, 2013 by Saldutti

The internet is brimming with financial advice – from growing your credit score to working with debt collectors to dealing with identity theft. In today’s post, we’ve gleaned the web – finding pearls of wisdom from the Wall Street Journal, MarketWatch, the Associated Press and Yahoo! Finance, for tips to help you stay on track for a more financially fit year.   Clean up your credit report: Disputing errors on your credit report can be a hassle but it’s worth it. Free copies of your credit report are available once a year from the big three firms – Experian, TransUnion,…

Top Tax Tools and Services

Posted on February 22, 2013 by Saldutti

It’s tax time again … and Quicken Loans’ Zing! blog has researched the most popular products and services to simplify the process. There’s a wide range of options out there ranging from free apps and online programs to more costly software and services. Something to keep in mind is that you can file your federal taxes for free through the IRS with freefile if you have an adjusted gross income (AGI) of $57,000 or less. Otherwise, you can e-file through a commercial program likes the ones listed below. Many of these programs will advertise that you can file for free….

Person to Person Payments (P2P) Becoming More Popular

Posted on February 20, 2013 by Saldutti

There is a growing trend in the number of people who use a person-to-person payment system to transfer money directly from their bank accounts to those of friends and other individuals using mobile phones, computers and tablets. There are an array of new services are ramping up to provide electronic payments between individuals – including Venmo, clearXchange, Popmoney and Dwolla. The oldest such company, eBay Inc’s PayPal, mainly handles person-to-business payments, but the company is also making a stronger push in person-to-person transactions. Such transactions are common in countries from Brazil to South Africa, but have so far been slow…

Surprising Items That Could Be Tax-Deductible

Posted on February 19, 2013 by Saldutti

Tax experts say they’ve heard it all – from deadbeat boyfriends to vicious guard dogs – taxpayers try to squeeze whatever deductions they can. Among the zaniest: How do I value a taxidermy I donated to charity? (It can involve estimating stuffing and mounting costs.) I’m putting a swimming pool in this year which I plan to use for exercise – can I deduct it as a medical expense? (Likely not.) What if my neighbor gives me a cow in exchange for help building a barn? (You must report the fair market value of that cow as ordinary income.) Some…

The 10 Most Common Tax-Filing Mistakes

Posted on February 15, 2013 by Saldutti

Thanks to tax preparation software, more of us are making fewer mistakes on our annual tax returns. But still, just one slip in entering information on your computer could end up costing you, either in the form of a larger tax bill or a smaller refund.  Even if a mistake – either on your computer or paper forms – doesn’t cost you cash, it could delay the receipt of any refund you’re expecting.  To get exactly what you should from the Internal Revenue Service, as quickly as possible, look out for these tax-filing pitfalls from Bankrate.com. A few are new,…

Tax Advantages of Getting Married

Posted on February 14, 2013 by Saldutti

There are many good reasons to get married – true love and compatibility being among the best. No one would suggest that you tie the knot simply to acquire the tax blessings of the Internal Revenue Service. But the tax code does provide a few wedding gifts to those who say “I do.”  Kevin O’Brien, a former University of Denver professor, Libby Fay, a certified public accountant, and Valerie Antonioli, a certified financial planner and investment adviser, offers these tips to Intuit.com for making the extended honeymoon a little sweeter when you prepare your tax return. For years, taxpayers complained…

Make Wise Decisions When Purchasing Equipment

Posted on February 12, 2013 by Saldutti

Whether your wish list includes manufacturing, medical, transportation or technology equipment, how you finance major purchases may not only impact the return on your investment but the success of your entire company.  “Financing decisions impact cash flow and a company’s ability to capitalize on opportunities or respond to adversity,” says David Beckstead, a regional sales manager for the Equipment Financing Division at California Bank & Trust. “Executives need to weigh their options carefully before making a decision.” Beckstead offers the following advice on prudent financing decisions when purchasing machinery and equipment. What should executives consider as they are reviewing various…

Getting the Best Price on Airfare

Posted on February 08, 2013 by Saldutti

If you’re experiencing a bad case of the winter blues, a tropical getaway, complete with palm trees, sun, sand and margaritas, might be just what the doctor prescribes.  Now it’s on the hassle of booking flights and the frustrating task of researching prices.  Gas prices are still high, the economy is struggling, and airlines know that planes are the only way to access certain destinations. We are a traveling society, and we are at the mercy of the airlines. So how do you find the best deal on airfare?  Bargain-conscious travelers have been trying to answer the question for years…

Tax Time Is ID Theft Time

Posted on February 06, 2013 by Saldutti

The Internal Revenue Service began accepting 2012 tax returns last week, sending thousands of individual taxpayers and tax professionals to their computers to fill out forms and then e-file them.  You, however, are an electronic tax-filing holdout. You’ve heard the reports about all the tax-related identity theft. So you’re still sending Uncle Sam your tax data on paper.  You might want to reconsider. Yes, tax-time identity theft is a growing problem. A Government Accountability Office, or GAO, investigation last fall found that as of Sept. 30, 2012, the IRS had identified almost 642,000 incidents of identity theft.  Worse, according to…