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Jane's Tax Advice

Yes, it's that time of the year again. The birds are singing, the daffodils are waving yellow heads in a gusty spring breeze, Jane's big dog is itching to get at the squirrels, and...the tax man cometh!

Jane will not pretend to know anything about taxes. While we recognize the need to pay them-- and we do pay them, really we do, Mr. IRS man, we don't profess to understand the intricate nature of doing so. That is why we have an accountant.

Jane is not a numbers person. Recently, there has been a controversy over the assumption that women, in general, are not as good with numbers as men. Jane has been hearing stories on both sides and will be using the reports she is privvy to in her next book. For now, however, we offer Five Free tax tips taken from sites around the web.

1. Website Bankrate offers, "10 Tax Time Bombs to Diffuse Now."  Jane advises all small business owners to visit this site and review these tax time bombs. And--offer them, via the Bankrate link, to your women visitors.

2. From the Washington Post, we learned that "A Big Refund Isn't Great News." According to writer Michelle Singeltary,

"To many, a tax refund is an annual windfall. But a windfall means something that is unexpected, unearned. This, on the other hand, is money you earned all year long. If not much changes in your tax situation, and year after year you are getting a refund, that's akin to lending your money to the government with no interest. Why would you want to do that? "

To which Jane asks: why indeed? Yet, many of us do that. Small businesses don't normally (at least the small businesses Jane knows) expect a tax refund...from the office. But, how many of those small business owners believe a tax refund for their personal taxes is a good thing? Not you, surely, dear reader!

3. MSN Money says refinancing can cost us money. How? By adding a higher tax bill to our bottom line. Jeff Schnepper says,

"...refinancing will save some $5 billion to $6 billion in interest payments and free up roughly $4 billion or so for us to spend. Refinancings have been a huge reason that consumer spending has been so strong in the last few years.

But there’s a catch: Those of us who refinanced will also pay close to $1.7 billion in additional federal income taxes."

Well, you didn't expect Uncle Sam to keep his hands to himself, now did you? Honestly, Jane is getting cross-eyed over this tax stuff, and we're only on tax tip #3.

4. Let's get away from the morbidity of paying taxes-- that connection between death and taxes and all-- and instead, let's have some fun. Ladies like fun, folks. (Cindy Lauper was sooooo right!)

From Butler Webs we bring  you these tax funnies:

The latest income-tax form has been greatly simplified. It consists of only three parts:
1.  How much did you make last year?
2.  How much do you have left?
3.  Send amount listed in part 2.

And, Jane's favorite:

There are two types of people who complain about paying their income tax.
Men and women.

5. For our final bit of tax advice, we invite you to visit Cat Tips and learn about the Cat Tax. Honestly, we don't make these things up. While this is humorous to some, Jane knows other cat owners will take this seriously,

"The Cat Tax: taking time out of your busy day to spend one on one time with your kitty. We suggest(ed) this time be right as you enter your home after being gone all day at work."

Personally, our kitty, Jabba the Cat...Pandora to some of us but Jabba to others, (we know you can figure out why if you think about it...), doesn't much care if we spend time with her at the end of a long day spent away at work. All she cares about is: is her food dish full!

She regularly gets her comeuppance when Carmel, the dog (and a nice size dog she is-- mostly German Shepard, with some Lab thrown in) bullies her way into Pandora's closet and...gobbles whatever the silly cat leaves in her dish-- as long as the humans are not around. Kitty

After 12 years, you'd think Pandora would learn. On the other hand, Pandora has Jane and the other humans in the house trained well. When we see her dish empty, we fill it. Hmmmm... maybe the Cat Tax is working -- albeit, differently, at our house!

We hope tax season slips by without trouble for all of you, dear readers. We leave you with this thought: Income tax is Uncle Sam's version of "Truth or Consequences."

We don't profess to know what's not to like about that!


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