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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 ó 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. However, this year I will likely be receiving money back from state taxes. Here are some places where I can invest this influx of cash:

1. Invest Tax Refund in a Business

Have you seen that Verizon mobile phone commercial with the little girl who becomes a lemonade tycoon? You could take your tax refund and invest in someone elseís future. Do you know anybody that has a dream, but just needs a little bit of a boost? It might not be a very safe investment, but the feeling that you have contributed to someone else could be priceless. And if, like the little girl, they become a success, you could have a very healthy return.

2. Invest Tax Refund in Next Yearís Return

Another idea is to use the refund to offset next yearís taxes. If you anticipate that you will owe money, you can reduce your burden now. Unfortunately, youíre giving the government a free loan, but you might save yourself a penalty if the refund covered a substantial amount for 2013.

But really, what fun is that? Take the money and blow it on something fun (just kidding).

3. Invest Tax Refund in Your Retirement

A smart investment could be into an IRA. If you use your refund toward making the maximum IRA contribution this year, you will get some significant savings for 2012 taxes. Depending on your tax bracket, that could be a decent return.

In addition, depending on what you invest it in, you could also earn some significant money. Just remember: The higher the reward, the higher the risk. You might be attempted to purchase some stock in Apple or Google, and although both look quite healthy, stock investments could turn out poorly.

4. Invest Tax Refund in a CD

Finally, a certificate of deposit would be a perfect fit for the safe investments category. Yes, rates stink, but one of the benefits of a certificate of deposit is that you wonít lose any of your investment like you could with a stock investment. The decision to invest in CDs could help you sleep a little better at night.

Ultimately, the vehicle you select should match your goals and objectives for the money. If your plans are more long-term, a higher-risk investment may make sense. If, on the other hand, you have short-term plans, put your tax refund in a CD or high-yield savings account.

With the tax deadline looming, I would first focus on getting your taxes done. If you arenít going to make it, the IRS will allow you to file an extension, but you still need to pay the taxes you anticipate owing. Unfortunately, that will probably be me this year. If you do get a refund, you donít have to rush to make a decision. Take some time. Talk to your loved ones and make the best decision for your situation. Donít let anyone push you into something.

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