Center For Siouxland's FREE Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program

Tue, Jan 23rd, 2018

Money Monday - Are You Getting a Tax Refund This Year?

Mon, Jan 22nd, 2018

Money Monday - Are you getting a tax refund this year?  What do you plan to do with it?

If you’re expecting a tax refund this year, it’s a good idea to have a plan for your money. Maybe you already have the funds earmarked for some spending – but before you let your tax refund burn a hole in your pocket, remember that the government isn’t sending you a bonus check, but rather money that should have been yours all along.

In fact, if you’re receiving a huge refund, you’re probably having too much withheld. Be sure to revisit your W-4 form and adjust your federal income tax withholding allowances.

Don’t get caught treating your refund check any differently than you’d treat your weekly or monthly paycheck. Give the money a purpose. Think about your personal financial situation and determine your needs. Here are several financial priorities you may want to consider.

Top Priorities for Your Tax Refund

1. Start or Increase Your Emergency Fund
Without an emergency fund, just one surprise major expense can send you on a debt spiral toward financial disaster. Many experts say that your fund should contain about six to eight months’ worth of savings in an easily accessible interest-bearing account (such as an online savings account or money market account). Storing that much money might take months (or even years) if you’re just taking a little bit out of each paycheck, so use your refund to make a significant deposit to your emergency fund.

2. Pay Off High-Interest Debt
After establishing an emergency fund, the next best thing you can do with your tax refund is reduce or eliminate any high-interest debt that you’re carrying. Put your refund to work by starting your debt elimination program of choice, paying off payday loans, title loans, debt consolidation loans, high-interest private student loans, car loans, or credit card debt.

3. Spend It on Something You Need
Are you having car trouble? Do you need a new winter coat? Have you put off important dental work? You need to take care of these essentials, and once you collect your refund, you may be able to cover the cost.

4. Start an Itemized Savings Account
Now is the time to start practicing the mindset of the disciplined and frugal consumer. First, make a budget, and break your refund into pieces, each of which plants the seed in your bank account for important future purchases. Putting your refund toward specific savings goals can prevent you from taking on debt down the road, when needs or desires arise.

5. Refinance Your Mortgage or Make Home Improvements
When you refinance your mortgage, you must still pay closing costs and fees. But use the refund to pay for the closing costs, and you can save thousands of dollars per year on mortgage interest.

If you’re happy with your mortgage rate, take a look around the house. Do you need a new roof? Is your kitchen outdated? Could new energy-efficient appliances lower your utility bills? Home improvement projects can immediately increase the value of your property while simultaneously making your home more comfortable.

6. Invest in a Tax-Sheltered Account
Depending on your income level, goals, age, and whether you have already fully funded your tax-sheltered accounts, using your tax refund to get a head start on Roth IRA contributions or 529 college savings plan contributions can be a great move. This may result in your three-digit tax refund growing into to a four-digit addition over the course of several years.  If you’ve already contributed the maximum to your tax-sheltered accounts, consider opening a brokerage account with a discount broker.

7. Donate to Charitable Causes
On a tight budget, making charitable donations can unfortunately slip down on your list of priorities. Your refund gives you a chance to give a little back.

Contributing to charity is an excellent use of capital and provides a huge societal benefit. Although the returns on your investment may not be as immediate or measurable as investing in the financial markets, giving to charity will benefit your community in a major way, and you can claim the tax deduction too.

8. Get a New Business Up and Running
Have you been looking for seed money to take your business to the next level? Do you have a venture that you want to start? You can use your refund to move in the right direction. It’s a great opportunity to turn your refund into income for years to come and get a few smaller business tax deductions next year as well.

9. Spend It on Something You Want
You saved all year, and now you’ve earned the right to splurge a little bit. Don’t feel guilty about using the extra cash for a summer vacation or to treat your family to a nice dinner. Just don’t get carried away – a $500 refund is no excuse for a $3,000 trip.

Whether it’s a major windfall or just a drop in the bucket, you can put it to work for you and improve your financial situation.  If you need help with managing your finances or setting up a budget Center For Siouxland's Consumer Credit counselors can help.  Call 712-252-1861 ext. 47 for more information or to set up an appointment.

 

Thank You to KMEG for Highlighting Center For Siouxland's VITA Program

Thu, Jan 18th, 2018

Yes, it's tax time at Center For Siouxland!  VITA schedulers will be taking calls January 22nd for appointments beginning January 29th. Call 712-252-1861 ext. 11, if the scheduler is not available please leave only one message and your call will be returned. Thank you to KMEG for the story and video about our VITA program.  Click here to view the KMEG video!

The Diocese of Sioux City Donates to Center For Siouxland

Thu, Jan 18th, 2018

Center For Siouxland would like to thank the Diocese of Sioux City for their generous donation to our agency!  Alison Justice, one of our staff from the Bridges West Transitional Housing is shown with the check we received today!

Thank You to Central Bank for Their Generous Donation

Tue, Jan 16th, 2018

Center For Siouxland would like to thank Central Bank for their generous donation to our Homebuyer Education services. Dianna Menefee from Central Bank is shown here presenting the check to Executive Director, Jonette Spurlock. Click here or call our Consumer Credit office at 712-252-1861 ext. 47 for more information about the services we have available.

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