2010 and 2011 tax rates, income brackets
Taking care of mom with some help from the tax code

By the Numbers: $3,003

More than three grand is a nice chunk of change. That's the average refund check -- $3,303 to be precise -- that the Internal Revenue Service issued last year.


Taxpayers who opted in 2010 for direct deposit of their refund money got even more. The average refund amount electronically sent to taxpayer accounts last year was $3,191.

January is prime filing month for folks expecting refunds.

If this forced savings account with the U.S. Treasury as your banker is the only way you can keep from spending every last cent of your paycheck, then that's better than nothing. And with interest rates on savings accounts, CDs and other financial instruments so low, it's not necessarily a bad deal right now.

But if you prefer to get every penny you earn instead of having some of it diverted unnecessarily to Uncle Sam, think about adjusting your withholding.

Having the appropriate, smaller amount of income taxes taken out of your paychecks, along with this year's 2 percent cut in the payroll tax for Social Security, could mean you end up with a nice bit of extra cash each payday.

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