Sunday, January 18, 2015

5 Reasons to File Your Taxes Early. Geoff Williams. U S News and World Report. Jan. 2, 2014.

5 Reasons to File Your Taxes Early
Advantages to filing early include receiving your refund faster and avoiding fraud.

If you like to file your taxes early and then chuckle at all the procrastinators who wait until April 15 nears, your day of reckoning is getting close. The earliest day the IRS will begin processing 2013 individual tax returns is Jan. 31, 2014, a date slightly later than usual due to the government shutdown last fall.
What are the advantages of filing early? Here's a list of good arguments from tax preparers.
Get your money now. This is the most obvious reason a taxpayer might want to file as early as possible. But try not to fall into the trap of thinking you need the refund before the IRS can get it to you. Some tax preparation services offer refund anticipation loans, which have steep fees that eat into that refund.
You'll also likely get your money in a shorter amount of time if you file earlier than the person who files a month or two after you, according to Elaine Phelan, a professor of accounting at Siena College in Loudonville, N.Y. Early filers may only have to wait for their refund for 21 days – the average time taxpayers have had to wait in recent years, and sometimes less, according to the Internal Revenue Service – whereas a later filer may have to wait longer, say, 31 days.
"If you work with a paid preparer, they are excited to jump into the new year and will enthusiastically get your taxes done quickly," Phelan says. "If you are expecting refunds, the IRS processing centers are less busy and will process your claim faster, so you might even get that refund sooner."
And, of course, if you file electronically versus putting your form in a mailbox, you should get your money even faster.
It may help with financial aid. "Taxpayers with college-age children need to get their tax information early to get the maximum amount of financial aid," says Lawrence Pon, a tax specialist who owns an accounting firm, Pon & Associates, in San Francisco. He says there is a direct link between the Free Application for Federal Student Aid form and the IRS, so your tax information is sent directly to the financial aid form without you having to provide it yourself.
It may help if you and your ex-spouse are feuding. Hopefully you don't fall into this category, and it's better for each party if you can keep the IRS out of your marital strife, but Pon says that "sometimes divorced people do not agree on who claims the children as a dependent, even though there may be a court order and an agreement. Whoever files first will claim the child, and the other ex-spouse may be out of luck."
You'll lessen your odds of becoming a victim of identity theft. "The sooner you file your return, the less opportunity someone else has to file a return in your name," says Joe Reynolds, identity fraud product manager at Travelers, headquartered in New York.
He points out that some criminals have been known to break into a home or car, steal identification and then file taxes in that person's name, scoring a refund that doesn't belong to them. The odds are slim that that will happen to you, of course, but it is another reason to file earlier rather than later.
Reynolds also advises getting your refund via direct deposit "so criminals can't have it redirected to their address or steal it from your mailbox."
There's more time to catch potential mistakes. If you wade into your taxes now and discover there's paperwork you need that you don't have, or it's simply going to be a more complicated tax year than you anticipated, you may not end up filing early, but now you have more time to spend on your taxes.
Not that there aren't smart reasons to file close to or on April 15, of course. If you owe the IRS money, there's really no financial advantage for you to give it to them any earlier than April 15.  Still, by preparing your taxes early, you'll know earlier how much you owe and will have more time to drum up the money to pay.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

J C Penney closing 39 stores in April 2015. Kim Peterson. CBS News. Moneywatch.

J.C. Penney (JCP) said Thursday it will close 39 stores this spring and lay off 2,250 workers.
After the newest round of closures, Penney will have about 1,020 locations in 49 states and Puerto Rico.
Penney shares rose less than 1 percent Thursday to close at $7.95. That's nearly unchanged from a year ago.
Pennsylvania will see the most closings, with five. Penney's home state of Texas, where it has dozens of locations, will see only one closure.
Here's the list of all 39 stores Penney plans to shutter:
            Walnut Square Mall in Dalton
            LaGrange Mall in LaGrange
            Gwinnett Place Mall in DuluthLagrange Mall in Lagrange
            Southbridge Mall in Mason City
            Westland Mall in West Burlington
            Crossroads Shopping Center in Waterloo
            Northland Plaza in DeKalb
            Quincy Mall in Quincy
            Marquette Mall in Michigan City
            Hanover Mall in Hanover
            Silver City Galleria in Taunton
            Adrian South Mall in Adrian
New Jersey
            Cumberland Mall in Vineland
New York
            Hudson Valley Mall in Kingston
North Carolina
            Randolph Mall in Asheboro
            Southgate Mall in Elizabeth City
            Signal Hill Mall in Statesville
            Parkwood Mall in Wilson
            Eastland Mall in Columbus
            North Towne Plaza in Greenville
            Upper Valley Mall in Springfield
            Pony Village Mall in North Bend
            Chambersburg Mall in Chambersburg
            Susquehanna Valley Mall in Hummels Wharf
            Granite Run Mall in Media
            Nittany Mall in State College
            York Galleria in York
Rhode Island
            Providence Place Mall in Providence
South Carolina
            Aiken Mall in Aiken
            Inlet Square Mall in Murrells Inlet
South Dakota
            Lakewood Mall in Aberdeen
            Market Square Mall in Brenham
            Manassas Mall in Manassas
            The Marquis in Williamsburg
            Diamond Run Mall in Rutland
            St. Albans Shopping Center in St. Albans
            Aviation Plaza in Oshkosh
            Regency Mall in Racine
                        Shawano Plaza in Shawan
Kim Peterson. CBS

Thursday, January 8, 2015

List of Macy's stores closing nationwide by spring 2015.

CINCINNATI —Macy's plans to restructure its merchandising and marketing and lay off of thousands of workers in response to changes in the way customers shop in stores and online.
The retailer said Thursday it will also close the following 14 department stores:
The company also is announcing today that it will close the following 14 Macy’s stores (out of a current total of about 790 Macy’s stores) in early spring 2015.
Metro Center, Phoenix, AZ
(107,000 square feet; opened in 1973; 88 associates);
Cupertino Square Mall, Cupertino, CA
(177,000 square feet; opened in 1997; 111 associates);
Promenade (main store), Woodland Hills, CA
(192,000 square feet; opened in 1993; 112 associates);
Promenade (furniture gallery), Woodland Hills, CA
(81,000 square feet; opened in 1993; 19 associates);
Gulf View Square, Port Richey, FL
(84,000 square feet; opened in 1981; 78 associates);
Northland Center, Southfield, MI
(504,000 square feet; opened in 1954; 170 associates);
Wendover, Greensboro, NC
(141,000 square feet; opened in 2002; 83 associates);
Ledgewood Mall, Ledgewood, NJ
(73,000 square feet; opened in 1994; 79 associates);
ShoppingTown Mall, DeWitt, NY
(120,000 square feet; opened in 1993; 94 associates);
Rotterdam Square, Schenectady, NY
(120,000 square feet; opened in 1995; 98 associates);
Kingsdale Shopping Center, Columbus, OH
(108,000 square feet; opened in 1970; 115 associates);
Richmond Town Square, Richmond Heights, OH
(165,000 square feet; opened in 1998; 105 associates);
Upper Valley Mall, Springfield, OH
(156,000 square feet; opened in 1971; 79 associates);
Southland Mall, Memphis, TN
(150,000 square feet; opened in 1966; 112 associates).
Final clearance sales will begin on Monday, Jan. 12 and run for between eight to 12 weeks.
New Macy’s stores will be opening in:
Plaza Del Caribe, Ponce, PR
(150,000 square feet; to open in fall 2015; approximately 275 associates);
Ka Makana Ali’i, Kapolei, HI
(103,000 square feet; to open in fall 2016; approximately 180 associates).

Mall at Miami Worldcenter, Miami, FL
(195,000 square feet; to open in fall 2017; approximately 150 associates).