The independent. (Vernonia, Or.) 1986-current, April 21, 2011, Page Page 4, Image 4

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The INDEPENDENT, April 21 , 2011
Don’t blow your tax refund, you can put it to many smart uses
by Jason Alderman (www.prac
Each spring, millions of
Americans look forward to re-
ceiving a hefty income tax re-
fund. And it truly is “hefty” with
the average federal refund in
2010 hovering around $3,000.
That’s a lot of money to be giv-
ing the government through
what is essentially a year-long,
interest-free loan.
If you regularly receive large
refunds, you’re probably having
too much tax withheld from
your paycheck. Instead, you
might want to withhold less and
put the money to work for you,
by either saving or investing a
comparable amount each
month, or using it to pay down
debt. Your goal should be to re-
ceive little or no refund at the
end of the year.
Ask your employer for a new
W-4 form and recalculate your
withholding allowance using
the IRS Withholding Calculator
available at This is
also a good idea whenever
your pay or family situation
changes significantly (e.g., pay
increase, marriage, divorce,
new child, etc.) Just be careful,
because if too little is deducted,
you might end up owing more
tax next April, and possibly
even interest or penalty fees.
IRS Publication 919 can help
guide you through the decision-
making process.
Some people received larg-
er-than-normal tax refunds in
2009 and 2010 thanks to the
Making Work Pay credit, which
expired December 31, 2010. In
its place, most taxpayers will
see a 2 percent reduction in the
amount withheld for Social Se-
curity in 2011 paychecks.
Another change this year
was a Treasury Department pi-
lot program that offered
600,000 randomly selected
low- and moderate-income
families an opportunity to have
their tax refunds direct- deposit-
ed into a prepaid debit card is-
sued through Bonneville Bank.
The pilot explored ways to save
the government money (direct
deposits cost 1/10th as much to
process as paper checks) as
well as to give people with no
bank account easier and more
cost-effective access to their
tax refunds.
Here are ways to put your re-
fund to good use:
• Pay down debt. By increas-
ing your payment amount on
outstanding loan or credit card
balances you can significantly
lower the total amount of inter-
est paid. Say you’re paying $80
a month on a $2,000 credit card
balance at 18 percent interest.
By doubling your payment to
$160, you’ll reduce the payoff
time from 32 months to 14, and
shave $295 off the total amount
of interest paid.
• Start an emergency fund.
To protect your family against
the impact of a layoff or other
unexpected financial crisis
(such as a medical emergency,
car accident or theft), set aside
enough cash to cover at least
six months of living expenses.
• Save for retirement. If your
debt and emergency savings
are under control, add to your
IRA or 401(k) accounts, particu-
larly if your employer matches
contributions – a 50 percent
match corresponds to a 50 per-
cent rate of return.
• Invest in yourself. Enroll in
college courses or vocational
training to ensure you have ad-
ditional skills to fall back on
should you lose your job or
want to change careers.
• Invest in your family’s fu-
ture. Another good use for your
refund is to set up a 529 Quali-
fied State Tuition Plan or a
Coverdell Education Savings
Account to fund your children’s
or grandchildren’s education –
all while ensuring your contribu-
tions will grow tax-free until
Vernonia Easter Egg Hunt • 10 am, Saturday, April 23 • Hawkins Park
Community Calendar
Alcoholics Anonymous
6:30 p.m., 410 North Street
Alcoholics Anonymous
Thursdays (Big Book Study) 7:00 p.m., 410 North Street
American Legion Post #119
2nd Tuesday
7:00 p.m., 627 Adams Avenue
Booster Club
2nd Wednesday
7:00 p.m., VHS Library
Boy Scout Troop 201
7:00 p.m., Scout Cabin
Boy Scout Troop 860
7:00 p.m., LDS Church
Cemetery Beautification Comm.
2nd Thursday
6:30 p.m., Library
4th Wednesday
For Info Call 503-429-3018
Chamber of Commerce
2nd Wednesday
For Info Call 503-429-6081
Community Coalition
2nd Monday
12:30 p.m. School District Ofc.
Cub Scout Pack 201
Scout Cabin
For Info Call 503-429-4250
Friends of the Library
1st Tuesday
7:00 p.m., Vernonia Library
Girl Scouts, Neighborhood 4-2
For Info Call 503-819-0143
Izaak Walton League
3rd Thursday
For location call 503-429-7193
Kiwanis Club
2nd & 4th Tuesdays
6:30 p.m., New Hong Kong
Lions Club
1st & 3rd Tuesdays
6:30 p.m., New Hong Kong
Municipal Airport Committee
1t Wednesday
6:30 p.m., City Hall
Pioneer Museum
For Info Call 503-429-3713
Public Works Committee
4th Tuesday
7:00 p.m., City Hall
Vernonia Cares Directors
For Info call 503-429-1414
Vernonia City Council
1st & 3rd Mondays
7:00 p.m., City Hall
Vernonia Community PTA
2nd Wednesday
7:00 p.m., WGS Library
Vernonia Garden Club
2nd Tuesday
1:30 p.m., Vernonia Library
Vernonia Grange
3rd Monday
7:00 p.m., Grange Hall
Vernonia Health Center
3rd Thursday
6:30 p.m., 510 Bridge St.
Vernonia Learning Center
1st Wednesday
6:00 p.m., VLC
Vernonia Parks Committee
3rd Wednesday
6:30 p.m., City Hall
Vernonia Planning Comm.
1st & 3rd Thursdays
7:00 p.m., City Hall
Vernonia Pride
2nd Thursday
1:00 p.m., City Hall
Vernonia Ridge Riders
Last Thursday
7:00 p.m., Senior Center
Vernonia RFPD Board
2nd Tuesday
6:00 p.m., Fire Station
Vernonia School Board
2nd Thursday
6:00 p.m., District Office
Vernonia Sr. Center Board
2nd Friday
10:00 a.m., Senior Center
Vernonia Transfer Station
2nd & 4th Saturdays, 8 a.m.-2 p.m.
Behind VHS
Vern. Volunteer Ambulance Assoc. 1st Tuesday
7:00 p.m., Fire Station
Vernonia Volunteer Firefighters
2nd Monday
7:00 p.m., Fire Station
WOEC Directors
3rd Tuesday
7:00 p.m., WOEC
M-BRFPD Board Business Mtg.
2nd Tuesday
M-BRFPD Board Workshop
4th Tuesday
M-B Ambulance Drill
1st & 2nd Thursdays
M-B Fire Drill
1st & 2nd Wednesdays
M-B Helping Circle
2nd Monday
M-B SAR Drill
3rd Wednesday
M-B Volunteer Assoc.
1st Tuesday
Natal Grange
2nd Wednesday
Upr Nehalem Watershed Council For date call 429-0869
Alcoholics Anonymous
Alcoholics Anonymous
American Legion Post #90
Banks City Council
Banks Fire District #13
Banks Library Commission
Banks Planning Commission
Banks School Board
Banks Youth Group
Chamber of Commerce
CPO 14
Everybody’s Hometown Band
Friends of the Library
Lions Club
Sunset Park Assoc.
2nd Tuesday
2nd Tuesday
2nd Wednesday
3rd Tuesday
Last Tuesday
2nd Monday
Sunday, Wednesday
1st Thursday
3rd Monday
2nd Tuesday
1st & 3rd Mondays
3rd Wednesday
7:00 p.m., Main Fire Station
7:00 p.m., Main Fire Station
7:00 p.m., Main Fire Station
7:00 p.m., Main Fire Station
7:00 p.m., Main Fire Station
7:00 p.m., Main Fire Station
7:00 p.m., Main Fire Station
7:30 p.m., Natal Grange Hall
9:00 a.m., Main Fire Station
7:00 p.m., Main Fire Station
7:30 p.m., Methodist Church
7:30 p.m., Methodist Church
7:30 p.m., Main Street Post
7:30 p.m., City Hall
7:00 p.m., Station 13
7:00 p.m., City Library
7:00 p.m., City Hall
7:30 p.m., Jr. High Library
7:00 p.m., UMC Youth Bldg.
12:30 p.m., Fire District Office
7:00 p.m., City Library
7:00 p.m., BHS Music Room
7:00 p.m., City Library
7:00 p.m., Brown Derby
8:00 p.m., Gun Club
7:00 p.m., Administration Bldg.
COLUMBIA COUNTY (All meet in St. Helens unless otherwise noted.)
Board of Commissioners
10:00 a.m., Courthouse
Citizens for Senior Justice
2nd Tuesday
7:00 p.m., Sunset Park Church
Columbia Comm Mental Health
1st Tuesday
5”30 p.m., 58646 McNulty Way
Columbia Soil & Water District
3rd Wednesday
7:30 p.m., NRCS , 2514 Sykes
County Fair Board
2nd Monday
6:00 p.m., Fairgrounds 4-H Bldg.
County Parks Commission
3rd Tuesday
Times vary, 1054 Oregon St.
Mental Health Advisory Comm.
For Info call 503-397-7211
Comm. on Children & Families
3rd Thursday 5:30 p.m. OSU Ext., 505 N. Hwy. 30
Local Alcohol & Drug Plann. Comm.
For Info call 503-397-7211
Organizations and meeting dates not listed may be included by calling 429-9410 or by mail to The INDEPENDENT, 725 Bridge Street, Vernonia, OR 97064.