Free Money News April 2017

April's here and so is an end to March Madness April 3. Looks like the “experts” have decided North Carolina will take it all…

If you are considering betting you might do better with your own crowdfunding campaign – if you have as many fans as Gamecock Jesus, the legendary and loyal fan of South Carolina’s team. He’s about to hit the $8,000 mark on his campaign to attend the championship game. See our April highlights for more info about personal crowdfunding and what it could mean to you…

When we say Madness is ending, we’re not talking about Washington DC. Healthcare is up in the air now, leaving some folks dangling. You can be sure nothing will happen to jeopardize a lot of people’s coverage — not good for votes. But stay tuned for new developments. Same with Tax Reform: it will happen but it will take time. Meanwhile we can look forward to the start of baseball season!

Now for taxes: the actual due date this year is Tuesday, April 18. If you want/need help with your taxes, see our highlights below - especially about whether you have to prove you have healthcare coverage this year.

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April Free Money Highlights

Unemployment Benefits

The new administration has ushered in refreshing optimism about the economy. That has already resulted in promising numbers regarding jobs and the unemployed. It may not impress you if you have lost your job or are in danger of getting laid off. There are programs to help you out though, and the most important is the Unemployment Insurance program. Many are eligible for unemployment payments and that’s a good thing. But the payments don’t happen automatically. It’s important for you to know what steps you must take and when — and what information you need to provide to have a successful application. Find out more — as well as how to estimate how much you might receive — in our latest article about Unemployment Benefits.

The Tax Man Cometh

Yes it’s that time again, and this year’s due date is April 18 for most of us. (It's delayed because the 15th is a Saturday and Emancipation Day is celebrated on the 17th in Washington DC.) If you need an extension you can easily get one — you just have to fill out IRS Form 4868 and it will move your deadline out to October 16. Keep in mind that you still have to pay any taxes due by April 18. If you don't you will face possible penalties as well as interest charges. You can find the form and file it online at irs.gov.

Things are more confusing when it comes to health care coverage — even the experts don’t agree about what the requirement is this year. Some say you can just ignore the question about coverage on your return. Others say that because the underlying law has not yet changed it doesn’t matter that Trump’s executive order said agencies should reduce the burdens associated with Obamacare. So it’s possible you could still face a penalty if you are not covered … and those penalties can be stiff. The best thing for you to do is get some professional tax help — and the good news is you can get it for free! Be sure to check out the information and updates in our article about Free Tax Help. There’s quite a bit available but don’t procrastinate: the lines will only get longer as April 18th approaches.

Housing Highlights

Have you considered renting a house? Our update to Home Grants discusses a new turn of events in the rental market. Some organizations that bet big against the housing market in 2008 are no buying up houses to rent. That could mean an increase in the supply of rental housing in your area — or in one where you’d like to live. If your heart is sent on buying a home be sure to check out Grants for First Time Home Buyers. But if you’re willing to consider a rental, this could be a good time.

So many people are in need of some serious home repairs — and can’t afford them. Many are older and doing their best to remain in their house. Home Repair Help offers some tips and advice regarding resources for assistance getting repairs done. And our most recent update homes in on specific tips for seniors —check it out if you’re in the market for some home repair help.

Money For School Highlights

Did you know there are more than 1 - 1/2 million scholarships out there? You can search most of them on sites we review at fastweb.com and finaid.org. Particularly interesting if you’re not a top student and you’re not crazy about writing essays: easy entry in random winner drawings that could get you as much as $2000. What have you got to lose? You can also get some more advice and direction about scholarships in Scholarship Information.

Filling out the FAFSA is a must for anyone even considering going to college or to a trade or career school. The latest update to our guide to the FAFSA offers some surprising information — especially if you think your family makes too much money to make you eligible for an award.

Business Highlights

Our latest update to Grants to Start a Business covers the area of crowdfunding for new businesses. We know that having no established track record makes it near impossible to get a loan for a startup. But crowdfunding is a whole different ball game … and one you could win. We offer top tips from the experts for running a successful campaign — and getting your very own business up and running.

If you’re serious about starting a business be sure to also take a look at the many possible options for funding in Small Business Financing Options. Some of them are new and you may not have heard of them yet.

Personal

We mention crowdfunding for businesses in our Business Highlights, but what about crowdfunding for ourselves? We've seen some impressive examples lately of people running successful personal campaigns, and you can too! Take a look at our review of personal crowdfunding platforms in this Free Money article from 2015 –the information is still current!

Are you in a tough spot and you need money quickly? Grants to Pay Bills provides very useful information about possible sources for help. An update offers a new tip that could help you get some cash for an urgent need like avoiding eviction.

Have you been tempted to sign up with Americas Got Funding? We provide an overview of their offering including the good and the maybe not so good. We’ve added some important new information to incorporate our own experience signing up and paying for their service. This is important reading if your money is important to you so be sure to check out our review of americasgotfunding.

Watch out for April Fools Day and Happy Spring, Happy Easter and Happy Baseball!

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