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What is a Refund Anticipation Loan (RAL) and is it Worth It?

It’s tax season again and if you’re expecting a tax refund you’ll probably want to get your hands on it as soon as possible.

In the past, taxpayers had to wait weeks upon weeks to receive a paper refund check from the IRS, but people sought a faster alternative.

The answer for millions has been the refund anticipation loan.

This option is offered by some tax preparation firms and is essentially a short-term loan taken out against your anticipated tax refund.

How a Refund Anticipation Loan Works

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Don’t Underestimate the Cost of Living When Deciding Where to Live

I live in the suburbs of Chicago, and recently, after 11 years in the same apartment building, my husband and I re-entered the renter’s market.

When we first began renting at our last apartment, the two bedroom apartment was a bit too big for us.  Three kids later, we were bursting at the seams.

However, we were shocked to see that 3 bedroom apartments in our location rent for $1,300 to $1,800 a month.  Houses can rent for as much as $2,500 to $2,800 a month.

Houses Are Often Out of Reach

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What is Self-Employment Tax?

When you work as someone who is self-employed, one of the costs of doing business is paying the self-employment tax. As you get ready to pay your taxes, don’t forget that you will need to add the self-employment tax.

What is the Self-Employment Tax, and Who Must Pay It?

The self-employment tax encompasses Medicare and Social Security taxes.  For those who are more traditionally employed, these taxes are automatically taken out of the paycheck.  The employer pays a portion of the tax, and the employee pays a portion.

Note that as a self-employed person, you will be responsible for the entire tax on your own — both the employer portion and the employee portion.
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H&R Block At Home™ Online Tax Software – Review

With more then 55 years in business, H&R Block is one of the most recognized tax preparation companies. Their do-it-yourself tax preparation with their online software, is one of the easiest ways to get your taxes done fast and accurately.

H&R Block online has a variety of support features and guarantees, making doing your taxes yourself worry free and simple.

Features of H&R Block Online Tax Prep Software:

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How to Negotiate Lower Rent in Your Current Apartment

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In this market, many new renters are freely negotiating with prospective landlords on the price of rent and having success.

However, what if you are currently locked into a lease and don’t really want to move?

If you have been in your apartment for several years, before the downturn of the housing market, you may be paying up to a couple hundred dollars more than new tenants.

Luckily, there are still ways you can negotiate a lower rent payment.

How to Negotiate Lower Rent in Your Current Apartment

Know the market.

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What is Tax Evasion and How Could it Affect You

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As tax season moves into high gear, thoughts turn toward how to improve tax efficiency.

There are a number of legal ways to reduce what you owe in taxes, thanks to deductions and credits.  If you think about your expenses, and re-examine your position, it is quite likely that you will find a few commonly overlooked deductions and credits that you missed.

Additionally, with a little thought, it is even possible to reduce your tax liability for the previous year — even though a new year is under way.

However, there is a very real difference between employing legal and properly documented tax breaks to reduce what you owe, and evading taxes in order to avoid paying what you are bound to pay by law.

Tax evasion is a serious matter, and you need to be careful to avoid engaging in it.

What is Tax Evasion?

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How to Get a Bargain When Apartment Hunting

The uncertainty in the housing market along with more stringent lending standards is driving more people to rent rather than buy.

Even though there may be more people in the renting market in addition to the usual renting population, there are also more people turning the homes they own into rental units rather than having their home languish on the market for months or years.

This means that the rental market, like the housing market, is currently a renter’s market.

Here are some tips to take advantage of this and get a bargain when apartment hunting.

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