If you e-file your taxes and select the direct deposit option, you may receive your refund in as few as 10 days. Generally, the IRS issues most refunds in 21 days or less. If corrections or reviews are required, it may delay the process.
You can check the status of your tax refund on the IRS website 72 hours after e-filing or 4 weeks after submitting a paper return. You’ll need to know your Social Security number, filing status, and exact refund amount.
We will host a National Consumer Protection Week question and answer session on Tuesday, March 6 at 2pm EST.
Experts from USA.gov and the Federal Trade Commission will be on hand to answer your consumer-related questions and and provide government resources that can help. So whether you have questions about how to file a complaint with a company or how to learn about the latest scams, now is your chance to get answers.
You can submit your questions in advance on our Facebook page or on Twitter using the hashtag #NCPW. You can also submit questions during the live chat from 2 to 3pm EST on Tuesday, when experts will be available to answer them live.
National Consumer Protection Week runs from March 4-10 and encourages you to take full advantage of your consumer rights and make well-informed decisions in the marketplace.
What consumer questions do you have?
You can request a tax return transcript to see most line items on your tax return as you originally filed it. If you made a change to the tax return after it was filed, you’ll need to request a tax account transcript instead.
It’s free to order a transcript and you can request them for the current and past three years. After requesting one, it normally takes ten to thirty business days to receive it. Order a tax transcript.
Tomorrow is February 29 instead of March 1 because this year is a leap year. But why do we have a leap year every four years?
Years and days are measured differently, and they don’t quite add up.
- A year is the time for the earth to complete its annual orbit around the sun.
- A day is the time required for the earth to make one complete revolution on its axis (24 hours).
Going by those measures, there are almost 365 and a quarter days in a year. That’s an extra quarter of a day a year. And every four years, we have an extra day on our hands.
To make up for those extra four quarters, every year exactly divisible by 4 is a leap year: a year with 366 days instead of the usual 365. That extra day is always February 29, and 2012 is just such a year.
However… We had said there are almost 365 and a quarter days in a year. There are actually 365.2422 days in a solar year, which equates to 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes and 46 seconds.
That’s only 11 minutes and 14 seconds less than 365 and a quarter days, but after 125 years, it would mean we’ve added a whole extra day too many.
Thanks to that gap of 11 minutes, years that end in ‘00’ that are not exactly divisible by 400 are not leap years. Therefore, 2000 was a leap year, but 1900, 1800, and 1700 weren’t. 2100 won’t be a leap year either. So, if you have anything due March 1, 2100, don’t procrastinate thinking that you’ll have February 29th, 2100 to take care of it, because you won’t.
Information courtesy of the Newton Ask A Scientist! Program of the Argonne National Laboratory.
When you order your credit report, you need to provide your name, address, Social Security number, and date of birth. To verify your identity, you may be asked to provide additional information that only you would know.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act requires that each of the three nationwide consumer credit reporting companies, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, make your credit report available for free, once every year.
When requesting your report on annualcreditreport.com, you may be offered additional products or services, but you are not required to make a purchase in order to receive your credit report. Don’t fall for imposter websites that offer a “free” report when you purchase a membership or only if you buy other products.
We have links to help you check for unclaimed money from the government, including unclaimed property, credit union shares, mortgage refunds, and more. Look for unclaimed money.
Last year, nearly 100 million taxpayers e-filed their federal income taxes with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). It’s the safest, fastest, and easiest way to submit your tax return.
If you e-file, you can expect to get your refund in half the time. If you owe money, you have more payment options.
There are four ways to e-file your federal income taxes:
- Free File - if your income was $57,000 or less, you can use Free File for free tax preparation and e-filing.
- Free File Fillable Forms - regardless of income, you can use online Fillable Forms. Fillable Forms are an electronic version of the IRS paper forms. This is a good option if you are comfortable preparing your own tax return, but want the advantages of fast, secure, and free e-filing.
- Commercial Tax Software - you can buy your own tax preparation software, prepare your own return, and press send to e-file.
- Tax Preparer - Find a tax professional you trust to prepare and e-file your return. Nearly all tax preparers use e-file now and many are now required by law to e-file.
The Social Security Administration can provide a detailed or certified report of your employment history, including periods of employment or self-employment and the names and addresses of employers, for a fee.
Image description: The Grand Canyon stretches for 277 miles and covers more than 1 million acres of land in Arizona.
Sunday marks the 93rd anniversary of the establishment of the Grand Canyon National Park. On February 26, 1919, Congress officially passed the act establishing the park in Arizona.
Known as one of the world’s greatest natural wonders, the Grand Canyon is 277 miles and is cut down the middle by the Colorado River. The national park covers more than 1 million acres of land in northern Arizona.
Senator Benjamin Harrison was the first to create a bill protecting the Grand Canyon, and pushed for it multiple times. As President, Harrison established the Grand Canyon Forest Reserve in 1893. Senate bills to make it a national park were shot down twice, until finally, in 1919, the Grand Canyon National Park Act was signed by President Woodrow Wilson.
On Facebook, Laura asked, “what is causing the rise in fuel prices in the USA and who benefits from this increase?”
Fuel prices in the United States are rising because of the increasing cost of crude oil. Crude oil is the natural form of oil as it is found in the ground, before it has been refined into gasoline. As of January 2012, the price of crude oil made up 76% of the cost of regular gasoline. In January, the national average retail price of gas was $3.38 per gallon. This means $2.57 per gallon paid for crude oil. Find out what makes up the rest of the price.
There are a few reasons why the price of crude oil is rising. There’s more demand from countries that haven’t used very much oil in the past, such as China. Also, instability in the Middle East means recent output from countries like Libya and Iran has been unpredictable or low. The Middle East produces a lot of the world’s oil and less oil means higher prices.
Currently, the United States’ demand for oil is down and production of oil is up. These factors would normally make prices go down. However, demand for oil in emerging markets like China is so high that it overcomes these market forces.
The countries and corporations that sell crude oil benefit when the price is high. In 2010, about 49% of the oil used by the U.S. was imported from foreign countries. Learn more about dependence on foreign oil.
It depends on where you live. Each state administers its own unemployment insurance program within guidelines established by federal law. Contact your state’s unemployment office for more information.
The Lifeline and Link Up programs help low-income households get telephone service, but it does not offer the service for free.
Lifeline provides discounts on one basic monthly phone service (landline or wireless). The discount can be up to $10.00 per month, depending on the state.
Link Up provides a one-time discount (up to a maximum of $30) off of the initial installation fee for a landline or the activation fee for wireless phone service.
Learn more about these programs, including eligibility requirements. You can also contact your local phone service provider.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the best option for recycling old electronics is to donate them. However, since the switch to digital broadcasting, many charitable organizations have stopped accepting analog televisions. Be sure to check with an organization before you drop off an old TV.
If you want to dispose of the TV, try these options:
- The EPA has a list of recycling programs offered by some television manufacturers and retailers.
- Some states and cities also have recycling programs. Search for local options.
Old televisions contain valuable lead, copper, steel, and aluminum that can be recovered through recycling. Recycling TVs helps to conserve natural resources and energy, reduce landfill use, and reduce pollution resulting from the extraction and processing of raw materials from the earth.