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Refund or Bust: The Conclusion of Wealth Club's Tax Guide

The final installment of our tax filing trilogy takes you right down to the refund wire.


In our financial advice column for the centsless, Michael Fleck fields questions on how to get your money right.

Refill that drink, it’s time for part three of our tax tutorial. Two weeks ago, we laid the groundwork. Last week, we started working through the tax filing process by examining the 1040, the main tax form for individual filers. Today, we’re going to go through the second half of your 1040—deductions and credits—to figure out what you owe the government, or what the government owes you.

Remember, we’re starting with your adjusted gross income, which determines whether you qualify for certain tax credits. It’s also used outside of the world of taxation—on your FAFSA, for example, when you apply for educational financial aid. Just like last week, we’re going to go through the 1040 line-by-line so you can see what’s happening below the surface, but for a simple return, check out online tax services at TurboTax, TaxACT, or H&R Block.

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How to Accept Credit Card Payments on Your Phone: Just Swipe It

Having trouble getting your friends to pay you back that $20? Well now they can swipe a credit card on you phone. It's handy for small business too.


The credit card processing industry rakes in over $40 billion each year a few pennies per swipe. As plastic payments become more ubiquitous, especially with growing online sales, cash is starting to seem obsolete, sadly. Transaction services are safe bet for a growth sector. So it's no wonder a new entrant to the game is bringing the action to mobile phones. And this one might actually help the little guy.

Square is an smartphone app–and a little white square (pictured below)–that lets anyone who downloads the free app process credit card payments right on their phone. All you need is a U.S. bank account, a social security number, and a street address. Oh, and a smartphone with an internet connection. The company will send you the smallest credit card swipe machine you've ever seen. It inserts into the headphone jack of your phone, but you don't even need that to process payments, it's just way more fun. The Wired pop-up store was even giving them away to anyone who stopped by.

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