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5 Best Ways to Spend Your Tax Refund
If you’re lucky enough to be receiving money rather than owing it this tax season, resist the urge to hastily cash that check. While we usually recommend saving your tax refund, there are also a number of smart ways you could spend it instead.

Tax Deductions for Renters and Landlords
When tax season arrives, everyone starts looking for potential tax breaks they can take advantage of. These tax breaks have the ability to lower your tax bill and save you money overall. When it comes to renting, tax breaks for renters and landlords exist for those eligible to receive breaks from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Understanding these tax breaks if you are a renter or a landlord is critical, so that you can keep as much of your money as possible when filing your taxes.

How Some Preparers Are Gouging Low-Income Taxpayers
A tax refund is often the biggest influx of money low-income taxpayers see all year. Between reaping the advantages of a lower tax bracket and qualifying for tax credits like the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), low-wage earners receive tens of billions of refund dollars each year. The IRS reported that it paid out $62.6 billion in EITC money for the most recent completed tax year, 2012 — and tax preparers are looking to get a cut of that money. But there are many free services available to low-income taxpayers to make sure their full tax refund ends up where it belongs — in their bank account.

How the Heartbleed Bug Could Drain Your Bank Account
The days of constant computer viruses and bugs seemed to be over, as internet users and service providers have learned how to decipher and secure systems against vulnerabilities. However, it turns out that a major security flaw has slipped by for two years without anyone noticing — and it could easily empty your bank account.

How to Go to Coachella on a Budget
That time of year has come again, marking the blossoming spring weather for most of the country and, of course, the migration of indie, rock and hip-hop music lovers to Coachella Valley for the infamous annual music festival. Maybe the two biggest questions on concert goers’ minds are: “Can I afford to go?” and if you actually manage to save the money, “Is Coachella worth it?”

9-Step Checklist for Spring Cleaning Your Finances
With baseball season finally underway, many fans in the U.S. – myself included – have turned their attention to how their favorite teams are regaining their footing after the off-season. Whether your team has been racking up wins or losses, it’s also the perfect time to think about ways to score a win when it comes to your finances.

How to Use Your Tax Refund to Help Your Kids Save
The average tax return so far this year is $3,034. If you are expecting a decent size tax refund, we’ve highlighted some of the benefits of using your tax refund to open a savings account for your child.

5 Ways to Boost Your Home’s Value for Under $1,000
Before you blow your tax refund on a night out on the town, consider using it to boost the value of your home. Whether you’re interested in selling or just want to reinvigorate your living quarters, it doesn’t take a refinance to spruce up. The average tax refund so far this year is $3,034, but it won’t take all that to add a little value to your home. There are quick, cheap solutions that will liven up your space.

How to Use Your IRA as a Last-Minute Tax Deduction
Many people are still working on getting taxes filed by April 15. While some people are stressing out over waiting to do their taxes, there is a big advantage (plus a last-minute tax deduction) to the delay: You can maximize your 2013 contribution for your IRA.

The 4 Craziest Ways People Have Legally Avoided Paying Taxes
Taxes, taxes, taxes. April 15 is rapidly approaching, and taxpayers who have been putting off writing a check to Uncle Sam will soon have to face the music. That is, unless they avoid paying altogether. Those words got you to perk up a bit, didn’t they? Well, believe it or not, there is a small segment of the population who found loopholes in the system that have allowed them to avoid paying taxes legally.

Credit Card Skimmer Discovered in New York City Subway
The recent onslaught of identity theft warnings, from security breaches at Target and Neiman Marcus to the recent “Heartbleed” vulnerability found in OpenSSL, hasn’t deterred thieves from attempting to steal credit card information. A new threat has been reported by the MTA New York City transit system that MetroCard vending machines in subway areas have been compromised, putting hundreds of thousands of passengers at risk of having their banking and credit card information stolen.

4 Ways to Safely Invest Your Tax Refund
We are just a few days away from the 2014 tax deadline, which means many Americans are scrambling to do some last-minute math — while early filers are smugly awaiting their returns. My income goes up and down during the year, plus my wife and I both have small businesses, so I usually end up owing money.

You Probably Won’t Get Audited, Thanks to Budget Cuts
Government budget cuts are a nuisance for Americans wanting assistance from public service officials, but this tax season, limited budgets and a shortage of personnel might ease the anxiety of tax filers who are worried they’ll get slammed with an IRS audit. In 2013, the number of audited tax returns fell to less than 1 percent; according to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, this percentage is likely to drop even further this year.

Guide to Tax Day Post Office Hours for Last-Minute Tax Filers
For taxpayers who still need to file taxes or mail an amended return, the clock is ticking. Tomorrow is officially Tax Day, the deadline to have tax returns mailed to the IRS. Tax returns will need to be postmarked by midnight on April 15 if sent by mail, or e-filed by this time — otherwise, the filer will face a late penalty.

Fake Credit Union Swindles $12.8 Million from Investors
The world of credit unions is based on the philosophy of “people helping people,” but a new Ponzi scheme uncovered by the SEC did anything but. The fraud centered on a fake credit union that acted as the front to steal millions from investors, according to the Credit Union Times.

The IRS Handed $760M in Unclaimed Tax Refunds to the Government
The deadline to file a 2013 tax return has passed — and with it, the deadline to file a return for 2010. The IRS reported in March that more than 900,000 taxpayers had left $760 millions’ worth of unclaimed tax refunds in the agency’s coffers. Taxpayers are allowed three years to file a return and receive their refund. Tax Day 2014 was also the last day taxpayers could file to receive their unclaimed tax refund – $827 on average, with the IRS estimating the median refund at $571. If these taxpayers didn’t file, their three-quarters of a billion dollars becomes the property of the U.S. Treasury.

The 6 Best Summer Vacation Savings Accounts
With multiple financial goals, it’s understandable that saving up for fun expenses could fall to the wayside. College savings, a retirement plan or emergency fund will often take priority when it comes to divvying up your paycheck, but not having sufficient cash saved for your summer travel plans could threaten your bank account, as well.

4 Banking Trends to Expect in the Next Decade
Considering the staggering changes in banking we’ve experienced over the last decade, it’s safe to say predicting what will happen next is like trying to guess who is going to win the World Series. We can make some educated guesses, but — to really hammer the metaphor home — there’s always a chance a curve ball is thrown our way.

Are Banks Open on Good Friday?
Good Friday and Easter are two major Christian holidays taking place this week. Both based in religious tradition, neither holiday is federally observed, so most basic services like banks, the post office and general store hours should go unaffected. However, the stock market is closed today, including the New York Stock Exchange and NASDAQ, and the bond market closed early on Thursday in observance of Good Friday.

How a Certificate of Deposit Can Help You Finally Save Up for a Home
One of the biggest hurdles to buying a home is getting that 20 percent down payment saved up. It’s a huge sum of money, though admittedly a huge accomplishment when you have enough cash stashed away to finally buy a house. The problem is that it can be difficult to keep your forward momentum when little expenses continue to pop up.

Are Banks Open on Easter 2014?
As a major annual holiday for Christians, Easter 2014 will be celebrated by as many as 80.3 percent of Americans according to a survey from the National Retail Federation. While it is recognized by four out of five Americans, Easter is not a federal holiday, leaving many consumers wondering: will banks be open on Easter 2014?

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