Today I thought I’d reach into my bulging mailbag to respond to a few of your questions. I love to get mail from you, my lovely readers. Even though I cannot personally respond to every message, I read them all. Keep them coming.
Dear Mary: For the first time in my life, rather than getting a tax refund, I owe the IRS. I’m talking about a lot of money, too.
Should I use my savings to pay my taxes, or is there a way to make payments that will not be overly taxing? I’ve been planning to use that money to pay off my high-interest credit cards. Phyllis
Dear Phyllis: While the IRS purports to set up payment plans in certain situations, I would not advise that you go that way if there is any way you can avoid it. The interest rates are high, and in my opinion, not reliable.
I’ve seen numerous cases where a payment plan was set up and going along fine when out of the blue, the IRS slaps a lien on the taxpayer without rhyme, reason or explanation. You can have a plan all worked out, and BAM! without notice they can just change it. I’ve concluded that the last person on earth you want to owe money to is Uncle Sam.
My advice is that your taxes should take top priority. If you believe you are in a position to handle monthly payments to the IRS, great. Begin making those payments to yourself instead to restore your savings account once you have paid your debt to the IRS. Once you have your savings built up, then you need to aggressively attack that killer credit-card debt.
Dear Mary: How can I get the hard water marks off my glass shower doors? I’ve tried vinegar and that helped some, but the marks remain. Thanks! Julie
Dear Julie: There’s a slight chance the glass has become permanently “etched” over time by minerals in the water, but I’d give it one last try using the mother of all hard water mark removers: oven cleaner. I’m not kidding. I’d go with something like Easy-Off Professional Fume Free because you don’t want to introduce fumes into an open area of your home if you can help it. Be sure to put on rubber gloves and then apply with a sponge. Leave it overnight and rinse in the morning. Expect magic! That’s how well oven cleaner works on shower doors.