Use Your Tax Refund To Build Credit

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What do you plan to do with your tax refund? Maybe you have your eye on upgrading your phone, buying a new computer, or splurging on a long overdue vacation.

Have you considered using your tax refund to build your credit?

Granted, credit building doesn’t compare with lying on the beach enjoying the sunshine, but you’ll get long-term benefits that go beyond good memories and a tan. Last year’s federal tax refunds averaged $2,899, which could go a long way toward establishing new credit or restoring damaged credit.

If you don’t have any credit at all, your tax refund could help you get a secured credit card. Traditional credit cards require a minimum credit score, but secured credit cards usually don’t because they’re backed by a cash deposit that determines your credit limit.

By making small regular charges and paying them off on time and in full each month, you’ll b…

Should You Pay Your Taxes With A Credit Card?

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It is hard to beat the convenience of a credit card for purchases, but does that same convenience make it worth paying your taxes by credit card? It might, but that depends on several factors involving money and time. “Your credit card is usually a high-interest option, but it is an option,” explains Betterment Head of Tax Eric Bronnenkant.

Before deciding whether to put your tax bill on plastic, consider the following:

  • Fees – By law, the IRS cannot pay credit card transaction fees. As a result, credit card payments to the IRS are handled through secure third parties approved by the agency. See the IRS website for a list of the approved payment processors and their fees.

    Credit card fees are percentage-based with a minimum “convenience fee” for smaller bills ranging from $2.50 to $2.69. Percentages range from 1.87% to 1.99…

When Credit Card Debt Is Tax-Deductible

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Wouldn’t it be nice if you could deduct your credit card debt from your taxes? For most Americans, that’s just a dream that will never come true. However, some circumstances allow you to deduct some credit card debt – all related to using your card for business purposes.

The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act raised the standard deduction and eliminated or reduced certain itemized deductions as part of a tax simplification effort. It’s critical for those who still itemize to take advantage of all possible deductions. Self-employed taxpayers and small business owners who rely heavily on credit cards may be able to save by taking advantage of credit-related deductions.

Credit card debt on personal purchases is not tax-deductible, thanks to the 1986 Tax Reform Act. However, three varieties of business-related credit card debt may be deductible.

Interest on credit ca…

Deduct Your Student Loans!

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Chances are that if you have student loans, you need every bit of extra cash that you can get. Did you realize that your student loans might be able to generate some cash for you?

Under certain circumstances, you may be able to save on your tax bill by deducting the interest that you pay on your student loan. The total deduction from your taxable income could be as much as $2,500. As a final bonus, you do not have to itemize to claim this deduction.

To be eligible for the deduction, your loan must meet certain qualifications. It must have been made to cover qualified education expenses as defined in IRS Publication 970, including tuition, fees, and most room and board charges. The loan cannot have come from a relative or via a qualified employer plan, and the e…

How To Get Tax Liens Off Your Credit Report

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Tax liens are claims made on your property by a government entity for failure to pay your taxes. A lien doesn’t mean your property will be seized – it just means that the agency applying the lien has the first right to your property compared to other creditors.

A tax lien on your credit report can drop your credit score and raise red flags with potential creditors. Tax agencies don’t report unpaid tax bills to credit reporting agencies, but tax liens are public records – and until recently, they were part of the public records that could be scanned by credit reporting agencies and included on your credit report as negative items (along with bankruptcies and civil judgments).

Worse, tax liens can appear on your credit report for up to ten years after the lien has been fully paid and released – complete with an officially issued document verifying that the taxing agency no longer has a claim on your property.

In 2015, the Consumer Financial Protection Bur…

IdentityTheft.gov 101

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The news seems to be filled with stories about hackers and identity theft these days, and rightly so. According to the 2018 Identity Fraud Study released by Javelin Strategy & Research, there were 16.7 million victims of identity theft in 2017, racking up a total of $17 billion in damages. Identity fraudsters successfully netted 1.3 million more victims as compared to the previous year. So, why haven’t you joined MoneyTips to protect yourself yet?

As a victim of identity theft, you can feel completely helpless and violated — not to mention aggravated at the hassles involved in restoring your identity and challenging fraudulent charges. You were already busy before the…

How To Avoid Being A Tax-Scam Victim

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To paraphrase the old adage, there are only three absolutes in life: death, taxes, and the rise of scams during tax season.

A major tax scam since 2013 involves phone calls by fictional IRS agents that demand immediate payment for alleged tax debts, threatening lawsuits or even jail time to those who refused to comply. The more sophisticated version of this includes spoofing a legitimate IRS phone number to fool caller-ID systems. The callers also have Social Security numbers and enough personal information to convince the taxpayer that the call is legitimate.

From October 2013 to March 2018, the Treasury Inspector General’s office identified 12,716 confirmed victims, who were swindled out of $63 million through this particular scam.

Other scammers use a carrot instead of a stick. Another significant scam claimed that consumers had been awarded a government grant for h…

Prevent Identity Theft From Affecting Your Taxes

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When your identity is stolen, you have so many potential issues to deal with — changing passwords, closing accounts, dealing with fraudulent charges, and placing fraud alerts with the credit reporting agencies — that you may forget about potential tax fraud. Armed with your personal information, identity thieves can file a fraudulent tax return in your name and receive a refund before you realize your information has been compromised. Sometimes taxpayers are unaware of the breach until they have problems filing their taxes.

What do you do if you fall victim to tax-related identity theft? Start by responding to any IRS notice as instructed. Your first hint that there is an issue could be a notice from the IRS asking you to verify your identity because of a suspicious tax return with your Social Security number.

Remember that almost all legitimate IRS contact will be through a letter in the …

Tax Identity Theft

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Computers and the Internet have become mainstays in virtually every area of 21st-century American life. There are tremendous benefits and conveniences to this, of course, but there are also some downsides — such as the increased risk of identity theft that arises as we share more of our personal information online.

In fact, identity theft has been called “the crime of the 21st century,” consistently ranking at the top of the Federal Trade Commission’s list of complaints every year. While there are many ways for identity thieves to strike offline, the Internet has made it that much easier for them to steal sensitive personal information from unsuspecting and careless individuals online.

A New Kind of Identity Theft

With tax-filing season now upon us, there’s another kind of identity theft you should be watching out for: tax identity theft. In this…