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Commerce Commissioner, AccountAbility Minnesota Share Tips with Consumers to make Tax Time a Money Moment for Financial Capability Month

April 03, 2014


For Immediate Release

Tax season can be a valuable, once-a-year opportunity, to evaluate finances and start saving. As part of Financial Capability Month, Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman is joined by AccountAbility Minnesota Executive Director Tracy Fischman in this installment of the Minutes with Mike podcast series, to lend insight on taxes and saving to stay on the right financial path.
 
“Tax season provides a great opportunity for all of us to think about our priorities and start saving,” said Commissioner Mike Rothman. “We want Minnesota consumers to be of aware of tax scams and to turn a sometimes daunting task into a chance to get ahead in the next financial year.”
 

Tax time as a “money moment”
One of the best ways that Minnesotans can take advantage of tax time is to elect to use direct deposit and put some of your refund check into a savings account or retirement plan.  Direct deposit is safe, easy, convenient and fast!  Check out the Minnesota Department of Revenue’s website for information about direct deposit, including a great PSA video.

Your tax refund might be burning a hole in your pocket, but it can also go a long way in helping you get in the habit of saving. Remember – it is possible to save no matter what your income may be.
 
Saving in the event of an emergency or for a long-term goal can provide security and stability in your financial life.  Visit the Commerce Department’s blog for more information on how to make the most of your tax time “money moment” and related resources that can help you locate your nearest financial institution or credit union.
 

Tax Credits
AccountAbility Minnesota urges Minnesotans to be aware of the many tax credits that Minnesotans deserve. There are several tax credits that Minnesotans can take advantage of to get in the habit of saving and building wealth.
 
Earned Income Tax Credit
Child Tax Credit
Minnesota Working Family Credit
Minnesota Property Tax refund
 
AccountAbility Minnesota’s website has a list of tax credits and a guide for tax year 2013.
 

Choosing a preparer
When choosing a tax preparer, the Department of Commerce urges Minnesotans to be cautious of those that offer a quick and fast refund or ask for fees upfront.
 
AccountAbility Minnesota provides a list of free tax clinics available to individuals and families, those are self-employed, and clinics that have interpreters.
 

Avoiding Scams
Criminals will often seize on the opportunity of tax time to gain access to your personal financial information. Scammers will use a phony IRS logo in an email to dupe you into providing bank account information.
 
Remember that the IRS will not initiate contact with you via email and ask for personal or financial information. If you receive a suspicious email – do not reply or click on any links in the message
 
If you suspect fraud, report it, so that others do not fall victim. If you think you have been a victim of a scam or fraud, contact the Consumer Response Team at 651-539-1600 or (800) 657-3602.
 
The Department of Commerce has a list of tips to prevent identity theft and to recover your identity.
 
Complaints can also be sent by email to consumer.protection@state.mn.us or by mail to Minnesota Department of Commerce, 85 7th Place East, Suite 500, Saint Paul, MN 55101.