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Many taxpayers love getting a big tax refund in April. For some, it's a slush fund that they might not have the discipline to build on their own. They look for several hundred or thousands of dollars back from the government to pay off some bills, make a large purchase, or otherwise improve their financial situation.

Tax preparers have been telling taxpayers for years that it makes no sense to let the government get a bunch of your money via withholding, and then refund it to you sometime later... without paying you any interest. Instead, you could decrease the withholding from your paycheck, and put the extra money in an interest-bearing account for yourself. You make a little on your money, and don't have to wait for the government to refund it to you.

And the recent news that California is going to delay tax refunds makes the case for decreasing your tax withholding even more compelling. The state is running out of cash, and has just announced that tax refunds will be delayed 30 days. Allowing the government to take more money out of your paycheck than you really owe in taxes, and then waiting for the refund, used to seem like a sure way to save money. Now with state governments getting a reality check after years of abusive spending, the idea that your tax money is safe and ready to be refunded to you isn't such a sure thing anymore.

Decrease your tax withholding so that the amount taken out of your paycheck adds up to what you'll really owe at the end of the year. Ideally, you should be even... little or no refund, and little to nothing owed. To decrease your tax withholding, you'll need to fill out a new W-4 form. You want to enter a higher number on that form to ensure that less is taken out of your paycheck.

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Cities with the Lowest Tax Rates

The total amount of tax you pay reaches far beyond what you owe the federal government. Depending on where you live, most likely you're required to pay additional taxes, including property and sales tax. The disparity between the amount of tax you pay in a low-tax city and that in a high-tax city can be dramatic. Living in any of these 10 cities could save you a bundle, although the exact amount may fluctuate based on your income and lifestyle choices.

Cities with the Highest Tax Rates

Much ado is made in the press about federal tax brackets, but cities can carry a tax bite of their own. Even if you live in a state that has no income tax, your city may levy a variety of taxes that could eat away the entire benefit of living in an income tax-free state, including property taxes, sales taxes and auto taxes. Consider all the costs before you move to one of these cities, and understand that rates may change based on your family's income level.

Great Ways to Get Charitable Tax Deductions

Generally, when you give money to a charity, you can use the amount of that donation as a deduction on your tax return. However, not all charities qualify as tax-deductible organizations. While there are many types of charities, they must all meet certain criteria to be classified by the IRS as tax-deductible organizations. There are legitimate tax-deductible organizations in many popular categories, such as those listed below.

A Freelancer's Guide to Taxes

Freelancing certainly has its benefits, but it can result in a few complications come tax time. The Internal Revenue Service considers freelancers to be self-employed, so if you earn income as a freelancer you must file your taxes as a business owner. While you can take additional deductions if you are self-employed, you'll also face additional taxes in the form of the self-employment tax. Here are things to consider as a freelancer when filing your taxes.

Tax Deductions for Voluntary Interest Payments on Student Loans

Most taxpayers who pay interest on student loans can take a tax deduction for the expense ? and you can do this regardless of whether you itemize tax deductions on your return. The rules for claiming the deduction are the same whether the interest payments were required or voluntary.

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