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Reader Poll: Do You Purposefully Pay More in Taxes Just So You Can Get a Larger Refund?
While scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed this week, I noticed that no fewer than three Facebook friends were exclaiming their joy over an impending tax return. Their news made me shudder.
The idea of a tax return seems to strange to me, because invariably if you are getting a return, you are almost certainly paying too much in taxes throughout the year (although there are certain exceptions – for example, if you claim the Earned Income Credit).
And, if you are paying too much in taxes throughout the year, you are missing an opportunity to invest and earn interest on money that is yours…
Anyhow, I’m curious what the rest of you think. Take a quick second and vote below in our first ever reader poll!
Speaking of taxes, the folks over at the Identity Theft Resource Center and its corporate sponsor Fellowes just sent me some tips on how to prevent identity theft during tax season. I get these things all the time, but I thought these were interesting enough to pass along…
Filing taxes online:
- Choose a tax filing service you are familiar with. The IRS provides a list of approved companies at www.irs.gov/efile.
- Make sure personal computers are protected with updated firewall and secure software systems, which contain antivirus and anti-spyware programs.
- If you are storing important tax-related documents on your computer, change your passwords frequently between December and April.
- Ensure that every website you are using during tax filing is encrypted to protect personal information when transmitted.
- Shred any backup documents once you’ve filed your taxes online with a Cross-Cut shredder like Fellowes’ 79Ci.
Filing taxes by mail:
- Regularly check the mailbox for W-2 forms and other documents containing sensitive information that arrive by mail. If you don’t receive these documents by Feb. 15, contact the IRS for assistance at (800) 829-1040 as missing forms may be an indication that an identity thief went through your mail.
- Send completed tax returns from a locked mailbox or the post office. If mailing from home, do not put the mailbox flag up. This only alerts identity thieves that there may be an outgoing check in the mail.
- Make sure tax forms, backup documents and enclosed checks are not visible from the outside. Try wrapping your forms in an extra sheet of paper to disguise the contents of the envelope.
- Keep tax paperwork and other documents in a safe and accessible place, such as a fireproof box in your home.
Good luck Penny Hoarders!