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Taxes

How to File Your Taxes for Free

by Luke Landes

The federal government can only operate with the help of the millions of individuals who earn income in this country and dutifully pay taxes. You would think that, in order to ensure a smooth revenue stream of considerable size, the IRS would make filing taxes as easy and painless as possible. That’s obviously not the […]

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TurboTax 2012 Online Review

by Luke Landes
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This is a relatively long review of TurboTax 2012 Online, software for completing tax forms and submitting them to both the federal and state authorities. I’ve updated the review to reflect the changes to the software in 2012 (for filing 2011 tax returns). Recently, the IRS began accepting federal tax returned filed electronically. Even before […]

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Fix the Tax System By Taxing Consumption

by Luke Landes
Ferrari

An elegant answer to the over-complicated tax system is to shift the basis of the system from income to spending. There have been a variety of proposals to make this happen. It’s the core of the so-called Fair Tax and Herman Cain incorporated its concept into his 9-9-9 tax plan. Other proposals have called for […]

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$362,000 in Income: Not That Much for Mitt Romney

by Luke Landes

It’s no surprise that politicians have difficulty relating to their constituents. When Mitt Romney was asked about his finances, he admitted two facts that would sound strange to most listeners. Romney considers what he earned from speaking fees in one year, $362,000, as “not that much.” Like most individuals who earn most of their income […]

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Home Mortgage Interest Deduction

by Luke Landes
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Although the home mortgage interest deduction is one of the most oft-cited benefits of owning a home, most taxpayers don’t take advantage of it because it requires itemizing taxes. If itemized deductions including mortgage interest paid throughout the year exceed the standard deduction, a taxpayer can take advantage of the benefit. The benefit isn’t as […]

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The Worst Celebrity Tax Problems

by Luke Landes

It’s with a tinge of schadenfreude that people are fascinated with the failures and foibles of famous celebrities. Every year, the IRS chases people who evade or underpay federal income tax, and actors and popular figures in the media, who often don’t manage their own finances, make the news. The latest is Lindsay Lohan. You […]

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Payroll Tax Cut Extended for Two Months

by Luke Landes

After political bickering, the House of Representatives agreed to make a deal with the Senate to extend the payroll tax holiday. This tax cut reduced the payroll tax — a tax separate from but often associated with federal income tax — from 6.2 percent to 4.2 percent of the first $110,100 of wages. The tax benefits Social […]

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Year End Reminder: Donate to Charity

by Luke Landes
Charity Box

The year is quickly coming to a close, and the first priority for many people right now is getting through the holidays with as little stress as possible. Focusing solely on the holidays at the expense of your household’s financial needs can only add to stress later, so it might help to get a few […]

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Tax Deduction for Time Spent Volunteering

by Luke Landes
Volunteer

I recently received reader feedback from a conscious saver who is planning to move his money from Wells Fargo to a credit union. She won’t make the Bank Transfer Day November 5 goal, because the credit union’s branch is planned to open November 7. This reader plans to be one of the new branch’s first […]

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Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 Tax Plan

by Luke Landes
Herman Cain

In the latest CNN poll, Republican Party hopeful Herman Cain is statistically tied with Mitt Romney with support of 25 percent to 26 percent of Republicans asked, but two thirds of the respondents haven’t made up their minds. Likely a big contributor to Cain’s surge from from 9 percent to 25 percent is his 9-9-9 tax reform plan. This […]

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