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Income Tax Tips

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By Diane Tait
I owe, I owe, it’s off to work I go is the lament of many a taxpayer at this time of year.  That’s because no sooner does the new year arrive when so do W-2 Forms for all employees and 1099’s for independent contractors.  Whether you work for a business or own a business, the next few months are certain to add to your workload, not to mention your blood pressure, as you prepare your tax forms to send to the IRS.  The secret to paying the least in taxes, interest and penalties is to have a familiarity with the tax laws.  That isn’t so easy when the laws change from year to year.  To help you get a handle on what is and isn’t allowable, I thought I’d take the time to give you a few time-tested tips.

Credit Card Crunch

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By Diane Tait
If you’re like most Americans, after the holiday season your credit cards are practically hot to the touch.That’s because they get a real workout in November and December.Having access to credit cards is a real convenience and a real danger.That’s because they allow you to buy things with money you have yet to earn.Like any lender, credit card companies make their money by charging interest on outstanding debt.Unless you can afford to pay your cards off completely every month, you can quickly get in over your head in debt using credit cards.To help you avoid a debt bomb that can quickly spiral out of control, I thought I’d give you a few tips on how to avoid the credit card crunch.

The Gift that Keeps on Giving?

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By Diane Tait
One of the biggest items on most American’s shopping list this year was technology.Whether Santa’s list included a new laptop, tablet or cellphone, the arrival of the latest model leaves most people wondering what to do with the old one.While selling, donating or regifting secondhand tech sounds like a good idea in principle, I’m here to tell you that if you aren’t careful, you could wind up giving away more than you had hoped.That’s because computers and smartphones contain sensitive and valuable information on them that can be used to cause you grief.Before you wind up getting Grinched by savvy cyber-criminals, there are a few things you need to do before you pass on any technology.

Ridding Your Residence of Roof Rodents

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By Diane Tait
With the onset of winter come cooler temperatures.While we in Florida fare far better than those who live farther north, even we see nights where the temperature falls below freezing.To us this means dealing with higher electric and gas bills when our heater fires up more frequently.One of the conveniences of modern society is no longer having to brave the elements or even stoke the fireplace to stay warm when its cold out.Our forefathers and mothers would have been green with envy.Of course, it isn’t only our ancestors who would be jealous about the ease with which modern society stay warm and comfy.There are still those less fortunate that envy our warm, snug homes.I’m not speaking of the homeless.I’m talking about roof rodents.

Protecting Your Packages from Porch Pirates

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By Diane Tait
With the holiday season in full swing, the sheer volume of delivery trucks is at a fever pitch. Unfortunately, so are porch pirates who make their living pilfering parcels.With more than 13 billion parcels being delivered in the US every year, I thought it was high time that I showed you a few secrets to scuttle these mailbox marauders.At stake is some $124 billion, which is how much American consumers spent online during the holidays last year. If you don’t want your packages to go down with the ship, here’s what you need to know.
Sticky Fingers – With more and more people purchasing products online and parcel delivery services dropping off packages at all times of the day and night, it’s no wonder that 30% of consumers report that their goods have been pilfered.Some porch pirates are brazen enough to tail a delivery driver until they see a package that piques their interest.Others simply cruise through affluent neighborhoods looking for untended boxes left near the door.…