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5 Ideas to Increase your Tax Return

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April is here, and if you haven’t done it already, it’s time to file your tax return. Many people fear that all that tedious paperwork will only lead to money they’ll owe to the government. But what if you could take steps to increase the money that you get back after filing your tax return?

Here’s some great news: You can! Use the following suggestions, and you might actually start looking forward to April 15 each year.

  • Time things wisely. Planning on making a large charitable donation in January? Do it in December instead, and you’ll get a deduction on your tax return. The same concept applies to mortgage payments and medical procedures. If you pay January’s mortgage payment in December, you can deduct the extra interest. If you have a medical procedure, it can be included in your deduction for medical expenses.
  • Learn from past mistakes. One good way to make sure you’re getting enough money back is to review returns from previous years. You can see where you missed opportunities and ensure you don’t make the same mistakes again. It’s also a good idea to try computing your tax return in different ways before you file it, to see if your refund changes.
  • Make sure you take enough deductions. Itemize charitable donations and job-related expenses to get the maximum benefit. You can also often deduct for certain familial expenses, including childcare, expenses of caring for an elderly parent, or out-of-pocket medical expense. Interest paid on a mortgage and contributions to an IRA are also tax deductible.
  • Increase your withholding. There are two schools of thought on this, and many people prefer to take home more of their paycheck each week rather than waiting to get it back from their tax return. If you’re looking for a large refund, however, you might want to talk to the HR department at your place of business and ask them to drop an exemption or two.
  • Know the current tax laws. The government changes the laws frequently, and you may be entitled to tax credits you don’t even know exist. There are all sorts of credits designed to encourage positive behavior, so if you own a hybrid car, for example, or install high efficiency appliances, you may be able to get some money back.

Part of keeping your family safe is managing your money wisely; making the most of your tax return is a great way to do that. Once you get the money from your tax return, why not spend it on another safety measure: a home security system. At Monitronics, our network of authorized dealers offers home security systems to fit every family’s needs and help keep every home safe. Remember to interact with us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Pinterest. Check out our website as well to learn how to keep your family and home protected. 

Sources:

https://turbotax.intuit.com/tax-tools/tax-tips/General-Tax-Tips/5-Hidden-Ways-to-Boost-Your-Tax-Refund/INF22336.html

http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/2014/12/21/cheat-sheet-tax-refund/20627011/

http://blog.taxact.com/biggest-tax-refund-possible/

http://finance.zacks.com/easily-overlooked-ways-increase-tax-refunds-3744.html

What Breed of Dog Are You?

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What’s your favorite dog breed? This is one topic for which there is no shortage of opinion! What you might love, someone else probably can’t stand and vice versa. What does your favorite dog breed say about you? Are you drawn to certain canine personality types because they match yours? What kind of dog are you, anyway?

  • Are you fun loving but stubborn? You may be a bulldog! These determined dogs may seem intimidating, but at heart they’re softies, gentle and loving. Bulldog owners are often similar to their pets in their stubborn streaks and can also be extremely methodical and efficient. On the other hand, they’re silly and love to laugh.
  • If you’re feisty, competitive and brave, you might think of yourself as a terrier! Terriers are fun little companions and, similar to their owners, well versed in focusing on the task at hand. Terrier owners and their dogs have a good sense of humor and are often talkative.
  • Labradors and golden retrievers, similar to their owners, are friendly and good-natured. These dogs and owners alike are family oriented, lovable, and easy going, and tend to love the outdoors and being active.
  • Are you as inquisitive and loyal as your beagle? Beagles and their owners are curious and open to new things, but also tend to be willful with a mischievous side.
  • People with poodles, Chihuahuas and toy breeds tend to take pride in their appearance. That makes these adorable little dogs perfect for them, because they can doll them up and take them anywhere. These dogs and their owners are flexible and fun loving, up for a night in, but also good travelers.
  • Boxers are silly and playful and usually have happygo-lucky owners. This is one dog breed with tons of energy, so it’s no surprise that their owners love life and are extremely playful.
  • If you’re gentle and put your family first, you may be a cocker spaniel person. Cockers and their people are trustworthy and affectionate, leading busy lives but prioritizing family. They’re friendly to strangers, but prefer the company of long-time friends.
  • Maybe you’re a mutt! Mixed breeds and their owners tend to be laid back, carefree and willing to go with the flow. If you don’t get hung up on strict plans, preferring to keep your eye on the bigger picture, a mixed breed may be the perfect dog breed for you.

Picking out a family pet is a very personal choice, and you need to find the right kind of dog breed to suit your family and your home. It’s the same with home security systems- what suits one family might not be quite right for another. At Monitronics Home Security, we offer home security systems to fit every family’s needs and keep every home safe. Remember to interact with us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Pinterest. Check out our website as well to learn how to keep your family and home protected.

CDC Calls for One in a Million this American Heart Month

“Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States; one in every three deaths is from heart disease and stroke, equal to 2,200 deaths per day.” (CDC, 2012)

Most of us know someone who has had heart disease or a stroke. February is American Heart Month and the government is stepping-up their efforts to fight the disease. The CDC and other parts of our government have launched Million Hearts to prevent the nation’s leading killers and empower us to make heart-healthy choices.

The goal of Million Hearts is to prevent one million heart attacks and strokes over the next five years. Here’s what you can do to be one in a million:

  • Take the Million Hearts pledge at millionhearts.hhs.gov
  • Encourage family and friends to take the pledge
  • Get active for at least 30 minutes most days of the week
  • Ask your doctor if you should take Aspirin every day
  • Find out if you have high blood pressure or cholesterol, if you do, seek treatment
  • If you smoke, get help to quit
  • Eat heart-healthy foods: fresh fruits, vegetables, low sodium, low trans fat
  • Follow your doctor’s prescription instructions

Everyday Superhero: Chris Tuttle

In the middle of the night, Monitronics Emergency Dispatch Operator Chris Tuttle received a burglar alarm from a retail store in Arizona. Chris made a call to the business but couldn’t get an answer or a voicemail.

He called the local PD and they were on their way to the business in no time.

After the emergency

The officers showed up to find two burglars in the act. They were quickly arrested and off to jail they went.

Everybody knows–nobody messes with Monitronics customers.

 

Everyday Superhero: Tara Taylor

On August 27, Tara Taylor received a medical alarm from a house in Tennessee. Right away, she made a call to the home number and she had to leave a message. Next she called the paramedics—she knew someone in the house needed help.

After the emergency

Tara started calling the homeowner’s emergency contact list to try and reach someone—she was unable to reach anyone. She made one last call to the home and, luckily, the homeowner’s daughter was there. She said, “I got your message and rushed right over! He’s on the floor and can’t move. He’s numb and I think he may have had a stroke.” Tara reassured her that she had already contacted the paramedics and they were on the way.

The ambulance showed up while Tara was on the phone so she ended her call knowing that the home’s owner was in good hands.

We’re always on the job!