Thursday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: This tax status could give single parents a break. Also in the news: What to buy (and skip) in March, how to find out the status of your state refund, and how much 8 emergencies may cost you.

This Tax Status Could Give Single Parents a Break
Filing as head of household.

What to Buy (and Skip) in March
Grab that tax software.

How to Find Out the Status of Your State Tax Refund
Tracking your refund.

This is how much 8 different emergencies may cost you — and you probably can’t afford them
From fires to layoffs.

Monday’s need-to-know money news

downloadToday’s top story: How to apply for a credit card after bankruptcy. Also in the news: Avoiding stress while paying down debt, the biggest tax “break” you shouldn’t forget, and how to slash your cable bill.

Applying for a Credit Card After Bankruptcy
Starting over.

Avoid Over-Stressing Your Budget When Paying Down Debt
Be patient with yourself.

The Single Biggest Tax Break You Shouldn’t Forget
Shrinking your capital gains tax.

7 Tips for Slashing Your Cable Bill From Guys Who Do It for a Living
Meet the BillFixers.

Q&A: State tax breaks for 529 plans

Dear Liz: You recently answered a question from grandparents who were contributing $20,000 to their grandson’s college education. You correctly told them they did not qualify fdownloador federal education tax credits or deductions because he was not a dependent. You might let grandparents know, however, that they may get a state tax break for contributing to a 529 college savings plan.

Answer: Most states that have state income taxes offer some sort of a tax break for 529 college savings plan contributions. (The exceptions are California, Delaware, Hawaii, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey and North Carolina, according to SavingForCollege.com. Tennessee has a tax on interest and dividends but no 529 tax break.) In some states, even short-term contributions qualify for a deduction, so grandparents could contribute money that’s quickly withdrawn to pay qualified higher education expenses and still get the break. SavingForCollege has details on each state’s tax benefits.