Weekly business rail, with tax tips, a BBB warning about Valentine’s Day and more.
Tip of the Week
Jessi Dolmage, spokeswoman for TaxACT, shares simple and smart tax tips for everyone:
- Put it all in one place. Gather your W-2s, 1099s and other tax documents. Have a copy of last year's return handy as well for comparison and your adjusted gross income that can be used for e-filing.
- Don't be a dunce. The Internal Revenue Source rejects millions of returns each year because of silly errors involving transposed characters, incorrect math and filing status. Double check names, addresses and birth dates. Social Security numbers on your return should match Social Security cards. If you're using software or an online solution, use import features to decrease these errors.
- Chose your software or online solution wisely. Not all tax preparation solutions are created equal, especially when it comes to free ones. For example, many free solutions exclude forms for complex returns with itemized deductions, investment income and capital gains and losses. Others provide minimal help and tools.
- Get with the times - e-file. It's no wonder nearly 70 percent of taxpayers e-filed their federal returns last year. Unlike paper filers, you'll know if the IRS accepted or rejected your return within 48 hours. E-file is also the fastest way to get refunds - in as few as eight days with direct deposit. If you owe, e-file now and pay later via credit or debit card, or a scheduled automatic withdrawal any time before or on April 18. You can also schedule payments using the IRS' free Electronic Federal Tax Payment System.
- Remember your state return. Most states pushed their filing deadline to April 18, but a few did not. If your state changed the filing date, it may not have changed estimated tax payment dates. The solution you used for your federal return likely offers a state solution, so let the software transfer your information to state forms to save time and reduce possible data entry errors.
According to the National Retail Federation, overall spending this Valentine's Day is expected to increase by 11 percent, with flower purchases leading the way.
"When buying flowers, consumers should be careful, especially when making the purchase online or over the phone," said Steve J. Bernas of the Better Business Bureau. "Consumers need to review the description of the floral arrangement or any other gift you are purchasing on the Web site or in your conversation with the florist or sales person."
Pay careful attention to the options offered such as size of arrangement, color of flowers, color of vase, delivery in a box or vase, and inclusion of an enclosure or gift card. Note that all the options mentioned may not be available on all sites or may involve additional charges. While you think you're ordering from a local florist, you may actually be on the phone with someone hundreds or thousands of miles away.
"Another important point is to make sure that your order is clear and detailed. Review the guarantee on the site or with the salesperson. This will help alleviate your concerns about quality or delivery," Bernas says.
For more tips, go to www.bbb.org.
Here are the 10 most valuable NBA teams, according to Forbes.com:
1. New York Knicks
2. Los Angeles Lakers
3. Chicago Bulls
4. Boston Celtics
5. Houston Rockets
6. Dallas Mavericks
7. Miami Heat
8. Phoenix Suns
9. San Antonio Spurs
10. Toronto Raptors
Number to Know
99 cents: Cost per week of Rupert Murdoch’s iPad newspaper, The Daily, which launched yesterday.
T-Mobile recently announced pricing for its tablet computer, the Dell Streak 7: It will be $200 after a $50 rebate.
GateHouse News Service