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Last night I stayed up late preparing my taxes. This should be a sign that something is truly amiss in the world, as I have been known to file my taxes an entire year late. Yes. (There's no penalty for filing late if you're owed a refund, but it's still not the most brilliant option in the world.) But this year, with three young children, a husband who hadn't worked much, and a huge amount of mortgage interest to deduct, I was expecting to get a nicely large refund, so I devoted my Sunday evening to typing numbers in a web browser.

And sure enough, I scored a big refund and submitted the Federal and Oregon state taxes before midnight (what a rush!). And then went to look at one of a few Federal tax filing schedules -- and wished I'd waited until Thursday. Why? Because the government processes refunds weekly, so if you get your taxes done on Friday night, you'll have to wait six days longer than those who get them in Thursday morning (11 a.m. Eastern is the cutoff time).

Sure, it doesn't actually make my refund come any sooner were I to have waited until later this week, but the mental strain of waiting for the money to hit my bank account is no fun at all. If you, too, are expecting to be owed a refund, and have a hard time with patience, schedule a session with your computer for a Thursday night.

If you're doing direct deposit, you could get your refund in as little as eight days; here is the schedule of when you can expect to receive your refund; this calender shows when the IRS will send direct deposit and mail checks (depending on your bank, the money could hit your account immediately, or not for a few business days). Here's the IRS link to find out whether your refund has been scheduled for depositing (you'll need to know the exact dollar amount of the refund you expect); it's usually 2-4 days after the return has been accepted before the IRS returns any data, however.

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TurboTax Articles

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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