Daylight Saving Time + gas taxes = boon for tax collectors,
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Filing season 2014: Death, taxes, root canals and refunds

Everyone knows Ben Franklin's oft-quoted remark about death and taxes.

Neighborhood Halloween visitor_photo by Kay BellThat pair showed up again in a recent poll from DealNews. In a head-to-head match-up of life's most frightening constants, almost a third (32 percent) of the survey's respondents said they feared doing their taxes more than death itself.

Now I'm all for a healthy respect for and acceptance of things we can't change, but yikes people. It's only taxes!

If you find your annual filing chore that horrifying, you'd best get a tax professional and soon!

At least Ben will be happy that his observation still has some perverse relevance to today's filers.

Dentists less scary, too: Another 23 percent who took DealNews' survey just as the 2014 tax-filing season was getting underway said they'd actually rather get a root canal than do their taxes.

A root canal? Really?

If the dental and death responses aren't an argument for tax reform, I don't know what is!

At least the poll query about refunds got less sinister replies.

Fifty-one percent of DealNews' readers said that they would save the majority of their refund. That's a 17 percent increase from last year.

And only 9 percent of poll respondents said they would spend their tax cash, down 13 percent from last year.

Refund amounts larger in 2014: How much money will those folks have to save or spend? Internal Revenue Service data through February shows that the average federal tax refund check is $3,034.

That's slightly larger (3 percent) than refund amounts issued at this point last year.

As I noted last week at my other tax blog, most people view their payroll withholding as a forced savings account that they can't access until they file their annual 1040 forms.

And as I also noted at over at Bankrate, if you're living on the edge, paycheck-to-paycheck, you might be better served by adjusting your withholding and getting your tax cash throughout the year. That way you pay your rent and other bills without fear of late charges and credit rating dings.

Of course, everyone's tax situation is unique. If short-term savings account at the Bank of Uncle Sam works for you, fine.

But at least look at the possibility of getting your tax cash sooner.

Bankrate Taxes Blog iconIn addition to individual taxpayer money management techniques, I also examined at Bankrate Taxes Blog the upcoming fiscal year 2015 federal budget battle.

President Obama has issued his annual spending wish list, focusing on proposals to help low- and middle-income families.

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), chair of the House Budget Committee, struck pre-emptively, issuing his own  document the day before that details what he and his Republican colleagues see as wasteful federal failures during the 50-year War on Poverty.

Will both sides be able to come together? Maybe. But not until after the midterm elections.

My tax thoughts for Bankrate usually are posted at that personal finance site each Tuesday and Thursday. If you happen to miss them then and there, check here on the weekend (or early the next week when we lose an hour to Daylight Saving Time, another issue credited to/blamed on Ben Franklin; that's my excuse and I'm sticking with it!) for a synopsis and links.

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Phil Brumbaugh

I have had many experiences with people saying they would rather endure painful activities than file their taxes, as a CPA I cant see why you would rather endure pain than do a simple task...but as my wife always reminds me, its my job, so I know what I am doing!

For those that would prefer a root canal...go ahead and let a CPA do all the work for you!

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