Personal Finance 
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Comments of the week, renters insurance is cool edition

We had a lot of great comments on a bunch of different posts. One of my favorite types of comments are readers sharing their own experiences, and we got plenty of those on posts about renters insurance, bedbugs and financial pitfalls for veterans.

Here’s one from reader Huskervball testifying to the importance of renters insurance:

We had a killer tornado. Many apartment buildings were demolished. The importance of renters insurance was overwhelmingly clear.


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 Taxes, The Home 
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The mortgage tax deduction: beyond the hype

House and Money on ScalesOne of the benefits of homeownership that many of us hear about is the mortgage interest tax deduction. After all, how many loans out there provide you with a tax deduction for the interest that you pay? (Student loans and business loans, as well as mortgages.)

But are you really benefiting from the mortgage tax deduction? And is it really something that has a big impact on your finances? As with most matters of personal finance, the answer depends on your own personal situation.


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 Taxes 
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Understanding the First Time Homebuyer Tax Credits

The housing market crash resulted in the government’s decision to try and stimulate homebuying with tax credits. However, it is important to note that, because there were different tax credits being offered, you may have to pay back your tax credit. If you bought a home in 2008, taking advantage of the first time homebuyer tax credit, you are in the group of people who has to repay the tax credit. This is because the tax credit wasn’t a true credit at all; it is a 15-year interest-free loan. If you took advantage of the tax credit, you have to start repaying it with your 2010 taxes — which means the taxes you are in the process of preparing right now.

With this post, we hope to explain which tax credits need to repaid and which ones don’t.

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 Taxes 
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Government to Issue Debit Cards for Tax Refunds

Plastic is a very real part of our society. Indeed, cash is rarely used as we pay with credit or debit. The government has long let taxpayers use credit cards to pay their taxes, and now the government is trying to decide if it is worth it to issue debit cards to those expecting refunds. Bankrate.com reports that a pilot program will be used to see how taxpayers react to receiving a Visa debit card in the mail instead of a paper check.

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