Money Talks

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2020-1-14

Money Talks: Tax Prep Early

January is Financial Wellness Month, Get Organized Month, and Tax Identity Theft Week - January 27 - February 2, 2020



Internal Revenue Service announced last week that the official opening day of the 2020 tax season for individuals will be Jan. 27

Reasons to file tax returns as soon as possible:

  • Avoid tax identity theft: Tax Identity Theft Week - January 27 - February 2, 2020.
  •  This fraud is particularly worrisome because the legitimate taxpayer may have no way of knowing that fraud has been committed. The scam only works for returns that haven't been filed by legitimate consumers, so fraudsters are highly motivated to file as early as possible.
  • Ways to prevent Tax Identity Theft:
  • File early
  • Review your credit reports for suspicious activity
  • Protect your personal information – don’t provide a Social Security number at businesses; ask if another form of ID is acceptable
  • Check your Social Security earnings statement to see if anyone is using your number
  • Install antivirus software on your computers
  • Change your passwords on online accounts regularly

More reasons to file early:

  • Get your refund faster:
  • If you e-file and direct deposit – you could receive your refund in 1 to 3 weeks.
  • Paper file, direct deposit – 3 weeks
  • E-file, paper check – one month
  • Paper file, paper check – 2 months
  • If you claimed either the earned income tax credit or the Additional Child Tax Credit, law requires the IRS to hold these returns’ refunds until February 15.
  • Extra time to pay your taxes: You have until April 15 to pay your tax bill. If you know you owe you’ll have more time to save up.
  • Get filing responsibility out of the way. According to a recent TaxSlayer survey, a majority of taxpayers (52%) are stressed over filing their taxes. Any time you face an unpleasant task, it’s best to get it out of the way as soon as possible.
  • Early filers face less competition for access to their tax professional. Some tax pros will charge more to complete your taxes as the filing deadline approaches. 


How you can get your taxes filed electronically for free?

the IRS announced it has signed a new agreement with companies that electronically prepare free returns for eligible taxpayers


National Consumer League - Tax ID Theft Information https://www.fraud.org/tax_id_theft

2019-12-3

Money Talks: Giving Tuesday 2019

Our discussion is about charities this week.


Where to Give on this Giving Tuesday.

Everyone hopes that the organization to which you donate money is a reputable group.

In Mississippi, The Charities Division of the Secretary of State’s Office is responsible for the registration and regulation of all charitable organizations and fundraisers who solicit contributions in Mississippi. The division is also responsible for the investigation of charity complaints and/or violations to the State’s charitable laws.


Each year, the Secretary of State’s office kicks off a “Check your Charities” campaign during the holiday season. We encourage Mississippians to check their charities with the Secretary of State’s Office before they donate. Mississippians are some of the most generous in the nation, and the secretary of state’s office urges you to check your charity to ensure your hard earned dollars are wisely spent.​​

The website for the Secretary of State of Mississippi is        sos.ms.gov


They also have links to: American Institute of Philanthropy: Charity Watch, founded 25 years ago as the American Institute of Philanthropy (AIP), is an independent, assertive charity watchdog.

BBB Wise Giving: The BBB Wise Giving Alliance helps donors make informed giving decisions and promotes high standards of conduct among organizations that solicit contributions from the public. It produces reports about national charities, evaluating them against comprehensive Standards for Charity Accountability, and publishes a magazine, the Wise Giving Guide, three times a year.

Charity Navigator: Charity Navigator is an evaluator of charities. In their quest to help donors, their team of professional analysts has examined tens of thousands of non-profit financial documents. They use this knowledge to develop an unbiased, objective, numbers-based rating system to assess over 9,000 of America's best-known and some lesser known, but worthy, charities.

Other links at the Sec. of State’s website: Guide Star, ​Supporting Charities, IRS, Multi-State Filer Project, NASCO: the National Association of State Charity Officials, and Mississippi Center for Nonprofits​

2019-11-26

Money Talks: Open Topic/Lottery/Black Friday

Things to buy in December

  • Gift cards
  • Christmas decorations (after Christmas)
  • Champagne
  • Wedding dresses
  • Golf clubs
  • Cookies: National Cookie Day - Dec. 4
  • New cars

One list had TO buy Jewelry, one list said DON’T buy Jewelry.


Things not to buy in December

  • High-end electronics
  • Exercise equipment
  • Bedding


Tips for Black Friday shopping:

·      Black Friday Sales have already started. Some of the best discounts are: iPads, Apple Watches, TVs, and headphones, but also air fryers, vacuums, Instant Pots and DNA kits also joining the Black Friday mix.

·      Retailers want to entice shoppers into stores in the hopes they will purchase more – so that is why for some of the best deals you do have to go in person.

·      Black Friday isn’t just on the Friday after Thanksgiving. Many retailers are starting their Black Friday sales earlier and earlier with some offering steep discounts as soon as Wednesday.

·      Try online first; look for free shipping. Also consider in-store pickup when it’s available.

·      Earn cash back: Whether shopping in-store or online, look to cash back through websites that encourage you to scan your receipts.

·      Use coupons and rewards programs from stores.

·      Don’t forget to mail in your rebates on small appliances.


Check The Odds

You might think they try to keep the odds secret, but they’re actually printed right on the back of every single ticket. You can even ask the cashier at the store to let you know what it says before you purchase. Go with games that have better odds.

The Cheaper The Ticket, The Worse The Odds

Similar to slot machines where you have to play big to win big, lotto’s tend to save the high dollar winnings for those willing to shell out a little extra in order to play.

·      Mississippi has 4 scratch off tickets: a $1: ”Three times Lucky” Approximate overall odds - 1:4.75 , 2 at $2: “Happy Holidays Y’all” Approximate overall odds - 1:4.39 and “Triple 7” Approximate overall odds - 1:4.32 , and a $5 “$100,00 Jackpot” Approximate overall odds - 1:3.98

·      This means that 1 out of every 3.98  tickets will be a winner.

·      It doesn't mean that every fourth ticket in a row wins, and it doesn't mean that in a random sampling of 4 tickets, one will definitely be a winner. It means that in the total number of tickets allotted, in all the stores across the state, that percentage of tickets are winners.


Hold On To Losing Tickets

It’s tempting to toss them away after you’ve been disappointed, but several games (including scratch-offs) hold second-chance lottos where you can send in the dud and still win some cash.

You should also have the cashier scan them in case you overlooked winnings. It might not be the big prize, but you could be in store for at least a little cash to keep you going for the next round.


Set a scratch-off budget and stick with it. Decide how much you can afford to spend on a scratch-offs each month. This absolutely has to be money you can afford to lose, because you will lose money playing the lottery long-term. It's a guarantee.

When you've set a monthly budget, take money for scratch-offs from the leftover cash, not used for rent, groceries, or other necessary expenses. If you've got a fund set aside for fun stuff, you could take it out of there if you enjoy playing scratch-offs.


Check Your State's Website: ms lottery home dot com

You don’t want to buy a ton of cards for a game only to check online and realize the biggest prizes have already been claimed, so make sure to look before even heading out to the store. Ticket will continue to be sold after prize money is given out, until all tickets are sold.

Pick Newer Games First

The website will also let you know when they introduce a new game so you can be first in line to claim all the fresh new prizes. You still have a chance at real money as long as those larger prizes are still in play, which isn’t always the case with older games.

Remember:

"Please play responsibly."

"You must be 21 or older to play."

"Gambling problem? Call 888-777-9696."


2019-11-5

Money Talks: Getting To Work

Guests: Sharon Person discussing MPB's Nov. 20th Hiring Event and Adam Todd, Director of the Governor’s Job Fair


Upcoming events:

Forest Area Job Fair 2019

11/7/2019 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM

National Guard Armory 300 Frontage Rd.

Forest, MS


Southwest Regional Workforce Training Center Job Fair Nov. 2019

11/12/2019 9:00 AM - 1:00 PM

Southwest Regional Workforce Training Enter 1146 Horace Holmes Dr.

Summit, MS


American Graduate Job Fair 2019

11/20/2019 9:00 AM - 2:00 PM

Mississippi Public Broadcasting 3825 Ridgewood Rd

Jackson, MS


Meridian Area Job Fair 2020

2/6/2020 9:00 AM - 1:00 PM

Tommy E. Dulaney Center 915 Hwy 19 N

Meridian, MS


Flowood Chamber Job Fair

2/11/2020 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM

The Ivy Venue, 1170 Luckney Road Flowood, Mississippi

Flowood, MS


Governor's Job Fair Network of Mississippi: https://www.jobfairs.ms.gov/Pages/home.aspx


More employment information and assistance at the Mississippi Department of Employment Security http://mdes.ms.gov/win-job-centers/


Listen to a previous Money Talks: Win Jobs Center: http://moneytalks.mpbonline.org/episodes/5cd31f1533f6c1be55607d85