Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: 2017 Tax Checklist. Also in the news: How home insurance defends your Super Bowl party mishaps, how using TurboTax could help with your student loans, and new apps to bolster your personal finances.

Super Bowl Party Fouls: How Home Insurance Defends Your Turf
Making sure your party mishaps are covered.

How Using TurboTax Could Help With Your Student Loans
Looking into refinancing options.

2017 Tax Checklist: What to Gather Before Filing
Get your paperwork in order.

Online DIY options to bolster your personal finances
Apps to help you get organized.

Thursday’s need-to-know money news

22856641_SAToday’s top story: The comeback of the 529 plans. Also in the news: Who’s to blame for the TurboTax scam, how to pay off student debt, and the top cities for identity theft.

529 Plans Make a Money-Saving Comeback
The college savings plan is back from the brink.

Who’s to blame when fraudsters use TurboTax to steal refunds?
It’s been a rough year for TurboTax customers.

Planning Key to Paying Off Student Debt
Tackling a long-term debt.

10 Cities Where Identity Theft Is a Huge Problem
Did yours make the list?

Friday’s need-to-know money news

HealthCare-Medical-Identity-TheftToday’s top story: What to do if you’re an Anthem insurance customer. Also in the news: TurboTax stops state filings, how your own personal lottery can add up to big savings, and how your pet can fetch a tax deduction.

Millions of Anthem Customers Exposed: What It Means for You
Find out what you should do if you’re an Anthem customer.

TurboTax halts state filings amid fraud outbreak
What this means for TurboTax customers.

Pay Your Own Personal “Lottery” to Save Money Regularly
Then ten dollar a day habit that could add up to big bucks.

How Your Pet Can Dig Up a Tax Deduction
A deduction, not a dependent.

4 frequent flier mile pro tips that anyone can use
Getting the most from your miles.

Don’t call the IRS this tax season

Zemanta Related Posts ThumbnailNeed to call the IRS with a question? Good luck with that. The IRS ombudsman tells us about half of taxpayers who call the agency this tax season won’t get through, and the average hold times could be 30 minutes or more.

In a report to Congress, the Taxpayer Advocate Service blamed the widening gap between the IRS’ workload and its shrinking resources (read: budget cuts) for “unacceptably low levels” of customer service.

You have some free alternatives if you need help filing your returns:

In addition, TurboTax and TaxAct offer free preparation of the simplest federal returns, but you pay to file state and more complicated returns.

The software programs do a good job of guiding most people through the preparation and filing process. If your tax situation is at all complex–you own a business, are an active investor or experienced a major life change, for example–consider hiring a tax pro. Enrolled agents are a good, lower-cost choice for most people, while CPAs offer more high-end help.