Less than a month left until April 15th! In good news, TurboTax has given me 2 copies of TurboTax Premier Online to giveaway to my readers. This means you could win a chance to do your taxes for free and efile federally (not state) for free.

I’ve grown to really appreciate using tax software over doing my taxes by hand. All options have potential pitfalls, including CPAs, but I think tax software is much better for most people than doing taxes manually. Its promptings helped me recall a number of things that, even in my thorough pre-tax preparation, I’d overlooked. Pages of tax forms, on the other hand, intimidate me and I’m not at my best.

Since tax-time is rapidly approaching, this is going to be a short giveaway, lasting until Monday, March 23rd at midnight EST. I’ll draw the winners on Tuesday morning using random.org and e-mail them the information for redeeming their copy.

To enter, leave a comment below about how you plan for (or don’t plan for) your tax refund (or if you’re getting one). Do you budget for it? Do you try to have as little withheld as possible? Do you blow it on a getaway?

Good luck!


Kyle March 19, 2009 at 8:55 am

I wish I could write something about my Tax return… unfortunately I owe this year. Turns out getting a fat raise in the middle of the year affects your potential for a return.

celticbuffy March 19, 2009 at 9:26 am

I try to make sure I’m claiming the right amount of deductions throughout the year but I do like getting something back. This year I’ll be using my tax return to pay off some debt and tucking some away for a trip to take my kids to Kansas City.

Judith March 19, 2009 at 9:59 am

My husband and I are both clergy, so we file as self-employed. We really need to get a better handle on what we will owe for next year; we almost always owe more. Yuck! We usually have a professional prepare our return, but that is getting more and more expensive (and, BTW, none of them agree on what to do about certain deductions.)
I could really use this this year …… it would save us hundreds of dollars in prep fees.

Ann Olmsted March 19, 2009 at 10:07 am

I plan for my tax bill, not my refund — and tend to postpone big spending (new computer equipment, etc.) until after it’s been paid. I use TurboTax and an accountant!

LaTanya March 19, 2009 at 10:14 am

For the 2008 tax year, our goal was to have just enough withheld to cover our taxes and maybe get a little back. We will be getting about $300 back between Federal/State and it is all going into our savings. We could probably tweak our W-4 to reduce what we get back, but that form is not the easiest to understand.

Little Miss Moneybags March 19, 2009 at 10:14 am

I have owed on my taxes for the last four or five years, thanks to freelance work in addition to my day job. I put aside money throughout the year in anticipation of paying in April (I don’t owe enough to have to do quarterly payments). I haven’t filed yet for 2008–I finally got all my paperwork just two days ago.

I recently started using Outright which will hopefully help me keep track of everything throughout the year.

Homes March 19, 2009 at 10:39 am

I’m not sure if I’ll get anything back this year . . . like Kyle, I got a raise halfway through, so I’m not sure how it’ll affect me. But if I do get anything back, it’s going straight to my house note. Trying to get that paid off ASAP!

Crabhands March 19, 2009 at 11:35 am

Long time TurboTax user who will not have a refund this year.

Though if a miracle happens and it comes through that money will go towards my upcoming down payment on my first house.

Diane March 19, 2009 at 5:59 pm

I LOVE TurboTax – I’ve been using it for years. I highly recommend it for ease of filing, unless you have a very complicated situation. It might still be great, but I don’t have experience with things like rental property, etc.

I’ve already filed & received my state refund, the federal refund should be deposited any day.

I usually get a fairly large refund. As usual I will set aside $1K for my birthday gift and xmas fund for the year.

I am considering a splurge on either a treadmill or a good bike for exercise, but I’m having a problem with allowing myself to spend at the moment, so I think I’ll hang on for awhile.

The balance will go into my emergency fund which is in good shape, until I make some investment decisions in the near future. I’m clinging to a larger-than-usual emergency fund at the moment, until I see some improvement in the economy.

In the past I used my large tax refund as an enforced savings account. Now that my finances are more stable & I’m saving regularly & earning interest I am considering changing my deductions to get more money in my paycheck & put it in an interest earning account.

Lisa March 19, 2009 at 6:45 pm

I’m the type of person that always filed my taxes as soon as I had everything I needed, but when I got married I turned the taxes over to my husband. He will wait until the last minute to file. It drives me crazy to wait, but I guess it beats having to actually do them myself, so I guess I can’t complain!

Meg from FruWiki March 20, 2009 at 11:23 am

We don’t budget for it per se. We try to have it so that we don’t owe anything but that not too much is withheld, either. We still always get a refund, but we don’t count it at ours till we get it. Then it usually goes to debt or into savings or maybe something that we do need. We don’t go crazy with it or anything.

Unfortunately, I’ve known a few people who do just spend it like free money and even have it spent before it comes in (at least mentally, sometimes actually using CC’s). They’re usually living paycheck to paycheck with no emergency fund, so — as you can probably imagine — their car breaks down or what not and then they realize (at least I hope they do) that they should have put it away for a rainy day.

melissa March 20, 2009 at 11:49 am

I always do my own taxes with Turbo Tax! And I have put it off this year until next week, just in the nick of time–but I don’t have my program yet.

I have no idea if I will have a refund or not this year, it was a bad financial year for us! But, usually if we have a refund we need it for some big purchase or emergency, we have never used it for fun.

E.C. March 20, 2009 at 5:40 pm

A quick run through suggests I’ll be getting a bit back. It’ll probably just get thrown into my savings account unless I decide to start a separate fund for graduate school applications next winter.

CatGeo March 20, 2009 at 6:57 pm

I don’t have the program yet but I try to get advice on withholding at the start of the year.

I live in Alaska and the “permanent fund dividend” has potentially pushed me into the next tax bracket. So my withholdings carefully planned are a bust and I will owe money when I expected to have a small return of about 200 dollars.
If I get any back I will throw it all to debt.

I only have 4k out of 85k left to go!!!
I have been reading a long time and I really enjoy your perspective on life.

Trevor @ Financial Nut March 21, 2009 at 12:41 am

I’m truly terrible about getting my taxes done on time. I don’t know why I wait every year- I just do! 🙂

Carol March 21, 2009 at 7:36 am

I usually get a refund, but also have big insurance bills due at about the same time – money in, money out! I’ll use the refund to repay savings fund.

Pamela @ Frugal Vet Tech March 21, 2009 at 4:34 pm

Depends on the year. We owed taxes for a few years. Last year we got a lot back and spent some on a new laptop, some on a weekend trip, and I forget what we did with the rest so I’ll pretend we put it in savings. 🙂 This year I think most of it’s going into savings. I have an (unpaid) internship coming up and we need to have money around to cover the bills. If there’s any left after my internship we’ll probably either pay down debt or get away for a weekend to celebrate me being DONE with school.

KATHY March 22, 2009 at 10:49 pm

We plan on using any tax refund to help pay tuition for our kids. Oh and then there are property taxes too! So I guess we will see.

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