Free Government Money? Uncle Sham Is Back!

Lucky me. Turns out I’m entitled to receive $3,200 in “free” government money. The reason, the caller explained: “Because you always file your IRS taxes on time.” Problem is, the named benefactor of that “specially selected federal grant” doesn’t pay his taxes because he doesn’t exist. Yes, the scammer dialed my actual phone number, but it’s listed under a fake name in public directories specifically to spot telephoning tricksters and Do-Not-Call no-goodniks. And like my phone directory pseudonym, unsolicited “free government money” is just …

Haven’t Filed Your Tax Return? Then This Is for You

The federal tax deadline is just around the corner. Need more time? No problem. You can get an automatic extension from Uncle Sam by filing Form 4868 by the April 15 deadline. This will give you until Oct. 15 to file your return. The form is only seven lines – half of which are your name, address and Social Security number. However, it does require you to estimate your tax liability. Get discounts on insurance and banking services — AARP Member Advantages. » And …

3 Ways to Cut Your Investment Tax Bill

As tax season draws to a close for another year, you may be among those feeling the pinch from taxes paid on investments. I admit that paying taxes is not exactly my favorite thing, so I always look for ways to be more tax-efficient. Here are three things you can do to keep more of what you earn: First, buy tax-efficient investments. Mutual funds that turn over stocks in the portfolio pass along any taxable gains to their holders. Many active funds …

Are You Scam Savvy or an April Fool?

This week, Hump Day is more than just Watchdog Wednesday. Being April Fools’ Day, when better not to be fooled by common scams of the season. Take this quiz to gauge your gotcha-avoidance know-how (answers at the bottom): 1. After you file your tax return, the IRS telephones, asking that you verify submitted personal information. How should you respond? A. Hang up. B. Provide the requested data. 2. Bathing-suit season beckons, and advertisements promise that a miracle supplement drops pounds fast — with a …

11 Things We Didn’t Know Last Week

News, discoveries and fun … 1. The average cost of a wedding stands at $32,213, including $555 for the cake. (Learn more at The Knot) 2. Social Security records erroneously show that 6.5 million people in the United States have reached the age of 112. (Learn more at Associated Press) 3. Barbra, Nanette, Sondra, Elmo and Waldo are on their way to extinction as baby names. (Learn more at Yahoo! Parenting!) 4. The zorro bubble-nest frog, Amsterdam albatross and tropical …

Need Cash? IRS Has $1 Billion in Unclaimed Refunds

Here’s a time you want to hear from the IRS. The agency has $1 billion in unclaimed refunds belonging to about 1 million people who didn’t file a 2011 tax return. The IRS holds the money for three years, after which it goes to the Treasury Department. Time is running out for 2011 refunds to be recovered by taxpayers. “Some people may not have filed because they didn’t make much money, but they may still be entitled to a refund,” IRS Commissioner John …