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Start 2013 with money in your wallet: Tax & finance tips

7:30 PM, Jan 2, 2013   |    comments
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ATLANTA -- As we kick off 2013, our focus is on ways to keep money in your wallet.

Perhaps the biggest money jolt this year will be the cash you will not be getting as the Government takes back a 2 percent tax cut it gave you in 2010 to fund Social Security. Now it's back.

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That means on a $40,000 a year income; you'll be out $67 a month.

But there is a way around it according to Georgia State Finance Professor Conrad Ciccotello.

"If you are going to get a refund you had too much tax withheld last year. If your circumstances haven't changed you should have less cash withheld this year. That's the W-4 form, and it's done by increasing the number of allowances. Bump it up one and you can get close to offsetting the social security tax," Ciccotello said.

When it comes to getting that refund, take a deep breath.

The IRS has delayed the start of electronic filing until January 22, which means, "People that get refunds in either late January or early February probably the earliest they will be getting it is a week before Valentine's Day," says James Robertson, of H&R Block in Marietta.

With a few weeks left before electronic filing, and you can offset what you pay the Government with another deduction.

"Fund retirement accounts. You can still do that until the time you file your tax return and that will lower your tax bill," Robertson said.

As you move into 2013, keep one thing in mind: cash is king.

"People who start out in the same place financially can end up in very differences places. It's explained by how well you understand what you spend. Cash is the best budgeting tool of all time because if you don't have any in your pocket you can't spend," Ciccotello said.

Ciccotello says that doesn't mean turn to plastic. When the cash runs low, he said, stop spending.

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