Blog Posts

By John C. Fales

Sometimes it’s hard to tell your spouse they’re spending too much money, to tell your friends you need to skip the annual trip this year, or to tell your child their new car needs to be a joint investment rather than a gift. However, wouldn’t it be easier to have a crucial conversation today rather than a really challenging one later that starts with, “We have a big financial problem”?

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If you’ve ever felt a rush of excitement at making a big purchase or experienced feelings of shame at making a financial mistake, you know that our relationship with money isn’t completely rational. For most people, money comes with a lot of emotional and psychological baggage that affects the decisions we make.

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Few things strike fear into a taxpayer’s heart like a letter from the IRS. Fortunately, the odds of you ever being audited by the IRS are lower than ever. Recent budget cuts have reduced the number of IRS auditors, and in 2014 the IRS audited less than one percent of the individual tax returns it received, the lowest level since 2004.

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Tax season is underway and that means an uptick in tax-related scams. One particularly pernicious form of fraud is tax identity theft. Tax-related identity theft happens when someone uses sensitive personal information (like your Social Security number) and files a fraudulent tax return in your name to collect a refund. According to recent statistics, scammers filed over 5 million returns in 2013 using stolen information, costing the IRS $5.8 billion in fraudulent refunds.

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Nothing can eliminate completely the stress most taxpayers feel when dealing with the IRS. However, there are plenty of ways you can make tax time easier on yourself. The filing deadline for 2015 returns is April 18, 2016, instead of the usual April 15. Because of Patriots’ Day, residents of Maine and Massachusetts will have until April 19 to file.

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