Few things can strike dread into the heart of the average American like tax season. Considering the complexity of filing taxes — and the potentially high stakes for making a mistake — it’s no wonder that anywhere from 20% to 25% of taxpayers wait until the two weeks before April 15 to prepare and file their taxes.
Unfortunately, there’s not a lot you can do to make tax season easier or more enjoyable — but you can avoid some of the mistakes that accountants and tax preparers see over and over again.
Here are the top four mistakes your tax preparer would love to help you avoid: [ continue reading... ]
In the last decade, online savings accounts have become commonplace. Not only do they traditionally yield better interest rates on your savings (for instance, the difference between 0.5 and 3%) — they cost both banks and consumers less money to operate.
Although some people have switched from traditional savings accounts to higher-yield online savings accounts for longer-term investments, the concept of online checking accounts hasn’t become as popular. This may change when more people catch on to their growing benefits.
Like online savings accounts, online checking accounts charge fewer service fees, don’t require minimum balances, and are extremely convenient for those who are technologically inclined. Until recently, however, there weren’t any other major incentives for switching to online banking — and, admittedly, most people want immediate access to the funds in their checking, which is a feature most online formats struggle to provide.
As of recently, that is no longer the case.
What’s the big, ground-breaking development in online checking accounts? Many of them are now interest-bearing, and significantly so. [ continue reading... ]
Four years ago, I started my life as a blogger. I was delighted to be bringing in the extra income, but I didn’t think about the tax implications. As an independent contractor, there were exactly zero taxes taken out of my pay.
That same year, our adjustable rate mortgage adjusted down, resulting in less interest paid towards our mortgage and less deductions to claim on our taxes. Together, those two events resulted in a tax underpayment of $2,000 the following April.
We were still in the first year of our debt management plan, and our budget was extremely tight. We didn’t have the funds to pay, nor did we have a credit card or line of credit to use. I gave the IRS a call, explained the situation, and asked what our options were.
The gentleman on the other end of the phone gave me five priceless pieces of advice: [ continue reading... ]
With the unemployment rate still fairly high, freelance businesses have exploded. Many people who were laid off in the recession are now using their knowledge to start freelance businesses.
Freelancing has also become popular among stay-at-home parents, who are now able to supplement their family’s income on their own terms.
There’s no doubt about it: having a freelance business can be great. You get to pick your own hours, choose what type of work you do, and be your own boss.
I’ve been freelancing for around a year now, and I’m constantly examining my progress to see how I can improve.
In my year of freelancing, here are the three biggest things I’ve learned:
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If you haven’t heard, financial guru Suze Orman recently submitted a Change.org petition that encourages Congress to require banks to submit debit card information to credit bureaus.
This has been a crusade of Orman’s for a while now. Back when she released her branded pre-paid debit card, the Approved card, she said that TransUnion would examine and consider the debit information. It wouldn’t impact credit scoring, however; it would just be an experiment to see if debit transactions mattered.
That being said, don’t hold your breath. Credit bureaus are all about evaluating your credit transactions. They want to figure out how likely you are to repay a loan — not evaluate if you’re responsible when using your own money. [ continue reading... ]
A common misconception about marriage is, that in addition to uniting two lives together, it also combines two credit scores.
In actuality, your credit score is yours alone — no matter your marital status. That’s because your credit rating is an assessment of your individual creditworthiness, and the credit bureaus base that assessment on your individual history of borrowing money and paying off debt. That means no aspect of your spouse’s credit history will ever go on your credit report.
Even though your credit score is yours, however, that doesn’t mean marriage has no effect on it.
Here’s what you need to know about how getting hitched can affect your credit: [ continue reading... ]