MONEY: TAXING DECISIONS

Tax season is bad enough without falling into the traps that really cost you money. Here's what not to do:

^ Don't pay your tax bill with a credit card. Sure, it's easy, but you'll pay an extra 2.49 percent transaction fee. If you owe, wait until April 15--and use the extra time to scrimp. If you're still in a pinch, charge everything else to a no-fee credit card and use the money left over to pay the IRS.

^ Forget about those fast-cash refund-anticipation loans. They pile on fees that could push the cost of borrowing to more than 1,000 percent at an annual rate. If you want your dough quickly, e-file and authorize the IRS to drop the refund into your bank account (irs.gov). Or, for the first time this year, you can ask for your refund on a prepaid Visa or MasterCard. You should have your money in two or three weeks, fast enough to cause some spring damage... um, save for next year's taxes.

MONEY: TAXING DECISIONS | News