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Don't Let the IRS Delay Hold Up Your Refund

The government shutdown has had a huge impact on the nation, and the latest sign came from this past week from the IRS, which said that tax-filing season could be delayed one to two weeks as a result of delays related to the shutdown. That delay could force anxious taxpayers to have to wait longer to get their refunds. But there are ways you can act now to get at some of the money you'd otherwise have to wait to receive.

In the following video, Dan Caplinger, The Motley Fool's director of investment planning, talks about how you can get at your hard-earned money without waiting on the IRS. Dan notes that the whole idea of refunds involves essentially giving the IRS an interest-free loan. It's smarter to set up your withholding at your job to make sure the proper amount of tax is taken out of your paycheck. Dan talks about how you can adjust your withholding to get money added to your paycheck, essentially giving yourself early access to what you'd ordinarily end up waiting to receive as a refund check. By completing Form W-4 with your HR department, you can set up your withholding the way you want. Payroll processors Automated Data Processing (NASDAQ: ADP  ) and Paychex (NASDAQ: PAYX  ) rely on those employee forms to calculate the appropriate amounts to have their clients withhold and then pay to the IRS on your behalf. Dan concludes with a reminder that not having enough tax withheld can lead to penalties, so be careful to get the calculation right.

Be smart about your taxes
If you're getting a refund, count yourself lucky, because tax increases that took effect at the beginning of 2013 affected nearly every American taxpayer and will eat up much of many people's expected refunds. But with the right planning, you can take steps to take control of your taxes and potentially get even more in your refund check. In our brand-new special report "How You Can Fight Back Against Higher Taxes," The Motley Fool's tax experts run through what to watch out for in doing your tax planning this year. With its concrete advice on how to cut taxes for decades to come, you won't want to miss out. Click here to get your copy today -- it's absolutely free.

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