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Tax rates, tax refunds last week at my other tax blog

The challenging thing about each new tax season is that while you have to worry about filing the prior year's return, you also need to pay attention to the current year's tax laws. Topics in those two areas were covered last week at my other tax blog.

Bankrate Taxes Blog icon We started with this year, specifically the 2013 tax rates and income brackets as set earlier this year by the American Taxpayer Relief Act, aka the fiscal cliff tax bill.

As everyone knows by now, the six Bush-era tax rates were made permanent and a new 39.6 top tax rate was added beginning in 2013 for single filers making more than $400,000 and married couples filing jointly with more than $450,000.

But we had to wait for the Internal Revenue Service numbers crunchers to come up with precise inflation adusted amounts of income in each 2013 bracket, which it did last week.

OK. Now put those 2013 figures aside and get ready to file your 2012 return. That's what a lot of folks are doing, particularly if they are expecting a refund from Uncle Sam.

But because of the Congressional delay in dealing with the fiscal cliff, refund seekers must wait a bit longer this year. And for many of them that's a problem.

The American Tax and Financial Center at TurboTax says tax refunds are especially vital for U.S. households living paycheck-to-paycheck and who depend on a the annual return of their withheld money to help cover the costs of everyday living.

How taxpayers use refunds_American Tax and Financial Center
 TurboTax Customer Survey 2012

To prevent being in another tough cash-flow spot when the IRS has to delay return processing -- and you know, based on how Congress does (or doesn't do) its job, that will happen again -- now is a good time for these taxpayers to adjust their withholding so they won't have to wait for refunds.

You can check out what's on my mind over at the Bankrate Taxes Blog, usually each Tuesday and Thursday.

But if you happen to miss them there, you can find a wrap-up here the following weekend. 

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