Tax Filing Procrastination is Expensive!

1040 Tax FormsDid you know that forty million people don’t file their taxes until the very last week (April 8th to 15th) before the tax filing deadline? I was astounded when I read that statistic. When you consider the average 2008 tax refund will be around $2,975, that’s $119,000,000,000 in refunds sitting in the Treasury until the very last minute. By waiting until the last week, you’re not saving yourself from dealing with taxes, we’re costing ourselves a lot of money!

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 Personal Finance 

Found Some Six-Year Old Missing Money

$1,025 in credit card offers!Have you checked out lately? If you haven’t take about fifteen seconds to do a quick search for yourself and you might be pleasantly surprised. I looked about a year or two ago and didn’t see anything, I just looked again and discovered that I had about a hundred bucks floating around somewhere in the halls of Pennsylvania’s Department of the Treasury!

The most surprising part was seeing my name next to my address from college, brought back some fond memories! Apparently I had a rebate from “Best Buy Co Inc.” for “under $100!” (everything is listed as under or over $100 or Unknown) I did this a few years ago and found no money, so imagine my surprise to find “under $100” somewhere. Back in college, I bought a lot of stuff for free after rebate in order to sell in on eBay. I was mostly diligent though from time to time things did slip through the cracks. This rebate is obviously one of those slips so it’s a nice little treat to discover I had some money coming my way (hopefully!).

The property date was listed as 12/06/2002 but the “missing money” wasn’t reported until April 21st, of this year. So, if you haven’t checked lately, I recommend you do.

With Pennsylvania, you have to visit the Pennsylvania Treasury site and re-enter your information (just first and last name). A list will appear, you select your unclaimed property, fill out some information to auto-populate the claim form, and then print out the form.

From here, I think each state has different requirements to prove that you are the owner of the property. In Pennsylvania, I will have to submit a copy of my driver’s license or signed social security card (I’ll be going with the license) as well as a signed Affidavit and Indemnification Agreement because I don’t have proof of the property (rebate) and because the property is valued above $25.

I hope this isn’t a rebate for $5… 🙂

(Photo: refractedmoments)


Rebate Shenanigans & Ethical Gray Areas

I have an interesting “ethical” question for you all, especially given the fervor over the Costco return policy.

I recently purchased an Epson Home Cinema Projector that came with a $300 rebate and a free bulb rebate (worth nearly as much). One of the quirks about the rebate was that you had to mail it within thirty days, rather than the typical static time limit that was ignorant of when you purchased. As you can imagine, what happened was I got all excited with the projector and forgot to mail the rebate within the 30 day limit. I did exactly what the manufacturer wanted, I purchased the project at the “list price minus the rebate amount” in my mind but I actually paid full price. It’s been a while since I’ve made a $300 mistake like that, one that could be chalked up to carelessness and laziness rather than circumstances that were less within my control.

My solution to this was something that some may find unethical (or at least gray) but I didn’t see a problem with it. I purchased another Epson projector and then submitted that receipt with the other documentation (UPC code, serial number) so that I’d be compliant and the rebate was approved. The only cost to me was shipping the second project back via UPS Insured; it set me back around $60. All in all, the added hassle netted me $240 and a free bulb.

While I feel that was certainly in the gray area (submitting a receipt that didn’t technically match the UPC), I personally found that to be on the good side of the ethical line. I returned the project in exactly the same condition that it was sent to me and Amazon wasn’t out anything (maybe shipping fees) and I received a rebate I was rightfully entitled to (I did buy the projector, I just missed the 30 day window by a few days). And I was certainly on the good side if you consider how quickly rebate fulfillment companies are to screw the consumer at every opportunity!

What do you think?

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