What's New in Taxes
Consider better ways to use your tax refund
Tax refunds for 2011 returns are averaging nearly $3,000. What are you going to do with your federal income tax refund this year? Instead of spending the money on things you don't really need -- like a bigger flat screen TV or the latest smart phone -- you might put a sizeable refund to better use. Here are a few suggestions.
* Pay down debt. Improve your overall financial situation by reducing the amount of any outstanding debts beginning with high-interest rate credit card balances.
* Contribute to an IRA. For 2012, you can contribute up to $5,000 ($6,000 if you're age 50 or over) to any combination of traditional and Roth IRAs. Contributions to a traditional IRA may be wholly or partially tax-deductible, while Roth IRAs can provide tax-free payouts in the future.
* Save for your children's education. Investigate the options, such as tax-favored Section 529 plans.
* Build an emergency fund. Set aside some money that will be available in case of emergencies.