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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2015 Military Pay Charts with a 1 Percent Raise over 2014 Levels

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[Updated with 2015 rates following 1% raise] Following the end of year presidential executive order, 2015 military basic pay for most armed services personnel will officially increase by 1 percent effective January 1, 2015. This is in line with the one percent raise last year (see previous update below) and 2015 GS pay raise for federal employees. The […]

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What Would You Do – Keep it or Return the Refund? 

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This is summarized from a real life scenario. What would you do in this scenario? Vote on the poll and/or add your comment below. Alan ordered a $600 jacket online from a well known retailer’s website where he had shopped a number of times before. This was a jacket he really wanted and was looking […]

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2015 vs. 2014 Maximum Weekly Unemployment Benefits By State

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Listed below are the 2014-2015 (where available) maximum unemployment benefit/compensation rates by state. The Unemployment compensation (UC) program is designed to provide benefits to most individuals out of work or in between jobs, through no fault of their own. The Federal-State UC program is a partnership based upon federal law, but administered by state employees […]

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