Consumer Economics Program
The University of California Cooperative Extension Consumer Economics Program provides research-based financial management programs and materials in formats that are easy-to-understand and use. We offer bilingual (English/Spanish) programs for both teens and adults, such as our Money Talks for Teens and Making Every Dollar Count curriculums and websites. On this site you will find useful handouts, links to educational sites, program research, archived issues of our Today’s Consumer newsletter, and more.
We hope you enjoy browsing what we have to offer. Take some time to explore our site and be sure to let us know what you think by clicking on the "Contact Us" page.
Time to GoDirect
The final date to switch to electronic payments for federal benefits is March 1, 2013. Do you receive a paper check for benefits from any of the following government agencies?
- Social Security
- Supplemental Security Income
- Veterans Affairs
- Railroad Retirement
- Office of Personnel Management
- Department of Labor (Black Lung)
If so, you have to make a choice. You can have your benefits directly deposited into your checking or savings account or you can opt to have your benefits go directly to a prepared debit card. There are benefits to each option. You can get all the details by visiting www.godirect.org or by calling the GoDirect Helpline at 1-800-333-1795. If you do nothing the Treasury Department will contact you by mail to ensure you comply with the law. There are very few exceptions to the Go Direct mandate. Going Direct will save taxpayers millions of dollars. Plus it’s safer and faster than paper checks.
January Monthly Tip
Tax Time is Here
It’s time to dig out your records so you can accurately file your personal income tax return. Don’t get overwhelmed; help is available. The IRS website, www.irs.gov, has a ton of information to answer your questions. If you have difficulty understanding any of their explanations, IRS representatives are just a phone call away. Call 1-800-829-1040 Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
If you earn under $50,000 you can get free in-person tax filing help through an IRS-sponsored VITA or TCE site. Both VITA, Voluntary Income Tax Assistance, and TCE, the Tax Counseling for the Elderly, sites are staffed by community volunteers who receive IRS-approved training to assist individuals with their tax returns. The sites are also set up to provide fast electronic tax filing. To find a site near you, call 1-800-906-9887.
To view a short IRS informational video on free tax preparation assistance go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=26ESO1dqip0