iPhone or Samsung Trade-in and Upgrade? Then Skip Best Buy and Go For Verizon or AT&T Stores to Get The Best Deal

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Just a quick money saving tip. If you are looking to upgrade your old iPhone or Samsung then avoid Best Buy and other big box electronic store and go to the network provider (AT&T, Sprint Verizon) for the best deals. See the screenshots below for the trade-in prices I got at various sites on my […]

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2015 IRS Refund Cycle Chart for 2014 Tax Return Filings

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While the IRS has officially discontinued releasing refund cycle charts, below are estimated refund dates (based on past refund cycles) you can expect to receive your refund after filing your tax return. For refund dates specific to your tax filing go to the Where is my Refund page at IRS.gov. You will need information from your […]

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5 Places to Get Free Tax Advice, Guidance and Help

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A lot of families cannot afford to pay for professional help to get advice on taxes and/or to prepare their tax returns. While simple returns for low income earners can be filed for free with most large online e-File tax providers, those who have complicated financial situations or have moved states during the year can find […]

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Where Can I Check my State 2014 Tax Refund Status and 2015 Filing Information?

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There is a lot of focus around this time of the year on folk’s federal IRS tax return, but just as many people need to worry about one or more state tax returns. Every state varies with their local tax rules and refund processing timelines and I thought I would provide a consolidated list of […]

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What Should I Do With My Tax Refund and How Do People Spend Their Refunds

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So you are lucky enough to get a tax refund. Congratulations. But before you think of this as an end-of-year bonus or money you can fritter away, realize it is actually just the money you already earned for the most part. Sure some of the refund may be due to a tax credit or other […]

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How Much Will it Cost to Have a Tax Professional Prepare Your Tax Return this Year?

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I have received variations on this question over the last few years and when I saw this article in the WSJ I had the answer to my question.  The national average fee for 2014 returns will be $273, according to a survey by the National Society of Accountants. This fee is based on filing for the […]

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Expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit in 2016

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[Updated following SOTU speech] Following President Obama’s state of the union speech and in addition to the items below, he had some good news on expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)  for 2016, which actually partisan support. The EITC supplements the wages of low income workers, and especially working mothers, lifting more children out […]

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A $2000 Paycheck Credit Bonus in 2015 and Other Middle Class Tax Breaks

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In a push to reengage their voting base Democrats have proposed a $2000 paycheck credit bonus as part of a wide ranging middle-class tax credits proposal. The paycheck credit proposal, architected by House Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), would only be available to middle class Americans, which are defined as couples earning less than $200,000 […]

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2015 Tax Planning – Capital Gain Taxes and Tax-Deferred Accounts

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This is another article in my 2015 tax planning snapshot series where I provide some quick and easy-to-implement tips on reducing your tax liability in the year ahead. If you invest in actively managed ETFs or mutual funds, looking for a higher than average (vs index fund) return, make sure you do it as tax […]

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2015 Federal Employee GS Pay Scale Chart Following 1% Raise Over 2014 Levels

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[Updated for 2015 GS Pay Raise] In 2015, employees paid under the General Schedule (GS) system will get another 1% pay raise following the executive order signed into law by President Obama and latest data from the US Office of Personnel Management. This is the second consecutive year that GS eligible federal employees have received a 1% […]

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