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Love and Debt: Why you need to talk about money

Valentine's Day On A Budget

What Will You do With Your Tax Cut?

How to Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck

Setting Financial Goals for the Year Ahead

Financing last-minute Christmas gifts

Your Credit and the Holidays

Where to go for mortgage and debt help

What You Should Know About Debt Settlement

Create a plan to deal with medical debt

Options for Higher Education

Back-to-School Strategies for Staying Out of Debt

Will Changes in Credit Reporting Affect You?

What to do if your medical bills are turned over to collections

What to do if your spouse can't pay his or her bills

What to do when a family member ruins your credit

Homeownership is possible

What you need to know about the IRS and collection agencies

Will being turned down for a store credit card hurt my credit?

Beware of credit repair

Debt Management versus Debt Settlement

How to get ahead of late fees

Is There a Service That Helps You Not Pay Bills

Is a Debt Owed

Patience is the key to furnishing a new home

How to split expenses with your partner

Will my boyfriend's bad credit affect me?

Tax filing options to consider

What to do if your account is turned over to collections

Celebrating Valentine's Day on a budget

Personal Credit and Starting a Business

Finding Money to Reduce Your Debt and Improve Your Credit

Simple Keys to Personal Finance

Be vigilant to avoid telephone and internet scams

Debt Settlement

Understanding credit utilization

Setting New Year's goals that you can keep

The pros and cons of skipping a payment

Strategies for Financially Surviving the Holidays

Creating a fun and memorable holiday on a budget

Keep an open line of communication with parents about their finances.

Make a Choice to Get Ahead Financially

What to do when a relative asks you for money

Should You Buy a Home Now or Wait?

The difference between debt settlement and debt management

Tax Refund Delays for some in 2017

The negative impact of paying a payment 30 days late

Stressed by Finances

How to navigate two significant financial decisions: starting a family and buying a home

How to advise someone close to you who is coming into a significant amount of money

Make a Conscious Decision on How to Spend Your Money

Tips for Back-to-School Shopping

How do you know if you have a good credit score?

Americans spend more money eating out than on groceries

Having Good Credit Saves You Money

Developing good money habits with your first job

How to save for a home

How to Know if you are Ready for Home Ownership

When is the right time to buy a home?

You can improve your credit to buy a home

Plan a Memorable Vacation Without Incurring Debt

The Hidden Costs of Payday Loans

Be Wary of Credit Repair Services

Use Caution when playing the credit card game

What does it mean to say bankruptcy gives you a clean slate?

How your credit is affected by various debt options

Be wary of predatory small business loans

What to do if you fall behind on mortgage payments

Financing a College Education

Money, Credit and Relationships

Should you be concerned with your date's credit scores?

Best options for a small, short-term loan

How to help a relative who is always borrowing money from you

Setting New Year's goals that you can keep

Making the holidays memorable for families on a tight budget.

Skipping a Payment over the Holidays

What to do if you are overwhelmed by medical bills

Make your financial intention a financial goal you can achieve

Should Consumers Use the New EMV Cards?

What to do when a collector calls you

The difference between paying bills and managing your money

My wife and I have gone through some tough financial times, which eventually led us to file for bankruptcy.  Following this experience, I don’t ever want to use credit again, but my wife

What do I need to know to pay ahead on my mortgage?

What to do if you get an unsolicited credit card in the mail

What to do when moving in to share expenses doesn't work out

Tax filing options to consider

Q. My wife and I disagree on how we should file our taxes. She wants to use a free service. But I think we should have someone file for us so we can take advantage of a free advance on our refund. What are your thoughts?

A. To decide the best way to file your taxes, you need to consider the complexity of your tax situation. Do you have a small business, a significant number of investments or other factors that might require professional advice? If your tax situation is complicated, I recommend you seek professional help to file your taxes so you can avoid any errors in filing.

On the other hand, if your taxes are relatively uncomplicated, you have a couple of options that will allow you to file for free. IRS Free File lets taxpayers who earned less than $64,000 prepare an e-file return without any cost to you. All you have to do is go to and click on the “filing” tab. 

You could also seek help from trained and certified volunteers at Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Centers, or VITA.  A VITA center offers free tax return preparation to taxpayers who earn less than $54,000 a year.   
As for getting a free advance on your refund, you would be seeking what is known as a refund anticipation loan. Not all refund anticipation loans have zero interest, however, and you would have to read the fine print to find out if there are additional fees associated with the loan. 

If you could file your taxes for free but think you want to get a refund anticipation loan, you will have to pay to pay a tax service to file your taxes for you.  In this case, you need to consider if it’s worth it to you to pay up to $200 for a filing fee to do what you could have done on your own. Yes, you may get your refund a little faster, but is it worth hundreds of dollars to you?  

Depending on your personal situation, you may have to wait a bit longer to receive your refund than in the past. The IRS reminds all taxpayers that a new law requires all refunds or returns that claim the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) to be held until February 15, 2017. The changes are designed to help the IRS detect and prevent tax fraud.

Bonnie Spain is the executive director of the American Center for Credit Education and Consumer Credit Counseling Service of the Black Hills. For more information, email

The material in this transmission is provided for personal, non-commercial, educational, and informational purposes only. ACCE makes no representations or warranties with respect to the accuracy or completeness of the contents of this transmission and assumes no responsibility for errors, inaccuracies, omissions, or any inconsistency herein. You should consult a professional where appropriate.