It is Tax Time Again

You’ve probably heard that 51% of Americans don’t pay federal income tax, and many end up getting paid by the IRS. But if you are an EB2/EB3 immigrant waiting for green card, you most likely belong to the other 49%. Oops!

I don’t remember how much taxes I paid over the years, but I do recall the pain every year before April 15. So today when I saw a hot deal on Amazon’s tax software, I jumped on it. Now, I may still find other excuses to procrastinate, but at least shopping for a tax program can’t be one.

I have been using tax software and e-filing for nearly 10 years, mostly TaxCut (now called H&R Block at Home – quite intuitive, huh?) but for a couple years I did try TurboTax. I never had an accountant do my taxes before, although some friends strongly recommend it. Maybe some day I’ll give it a shot. I only know one person that still fills out paper forms and does calculations by hand, so he is my hero.

There are two major commercial tax programs on the market: TurboTax and TaxCut (H&R Block at Home), with TaxAct being a third option. They are priced pretty much in that order, from high to low. They can all import last year’s tax returns, as well as financial data from certain institutions. They are somewhat cross-compatible. There are many articles on the Internet to compare the three, but my personal experience is that they all get the job done. You may prefer one’s user interface, or certain features, more than the others. For me I started with TaxCut and found no reason to switch.

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What’s in your wallet?!

The Capital One commercials really annoy me, but I like the tagline: What is in your wallet?! Do you know exactly what credit cards, debit cards and membership cards are in your wallet? Do you remember those card numbers? Can you quickly find their customer service phone numbers? Answer these questions as if your wallet … Read more

Google Economic Trends: Jobs Index

Google released another cool feature today which takes advantage of its gold mine – gigantic volume of search data – to track “domestic trends.” Available on Google Finance, the tool contains 23 indexes to cover major sectors of the economy, such as retail, car buying, jobs, and travel. I downloaded the job search data and … Read more

Cell Phone Numbers and the Do Not Call List

I’m still getting emails warning me that “all cell phone numbers are being released to telemarketing companies and you will start to receive sale calls.” According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), however, this is not true: You may have received an email telling you that your cell phone is about to be assaulted by … Read more

First-Class Mail Price Rising to 44 Cents

The U.S. Postal Service has announced that the price of a first-class stamp will increase to 44 cents, starting May 11, 2009. The new postage is for the first ounce of a First-Class mail – the most common type for mailing letters, payment checks, etc. The forever stamps will continue to be sold at 42 … Read more

IRS Recovery Rebate for 2008 Economic Stimulus Payment

Remember last year’s economic stimulus payment? The $600 per person, $300 per child, tax rebate check from the IRS? Well, if you didn’t receive the full amount in 2008, there is a good chance that you will be eligible for a recovery rebate this year. According to IRS: People who fall into the categories described … Read more