Taxing times. If you haven’t yet rounded up your calculator,
pulled that shoebox of receipts from the closet shelf and done your tax
returns, it’s crunch time. You’ve got exactly one week to get them in
the mail, while contemplating how 1,048 people avoided owing any taxes
last year. You’ll find all the help you need — except for the money to
pay what you owe — at Essential Links’ Guide to Taxes, which is a great
resource. It provides the links you need not just for federal taxes, but
state and international taxes, too. Also tax law, tax tips and so forth.
Plastic payments. This is the first year you can charge what
you owe Uncle Sam to your American Express, Discover or MasterCard (but
not Visa). Naturally, this being the government, there are some
complications. First, you don’t just pull the plastic from your pocket
and say, “Charge it.” You’ve got to go through the Official Payments Corp. Second,
it will cost you a fee of between 2.5 and 3 percent of your total tax
Grin and bear it. You might as well smile — otherwise you
might cry, right? 123 Greetings makes it easy to chuckle on April 17
with its funny selection of income tax day
Sophmoric silliness. Any adult who’s a fan of The Three
Stooges will find it fun to get rid of tax frustrations at Poke Alex in the Eye.
Money, Money, Money. You gotta figure the Treasury Department
is singing the old Abba song about now. Once upon a time, garden hoes,
shells and grain served as currency, according to the Comparative
Chronology of Money. This interesting but plain-Jane site also
reveals that banking was originated by the Babylonians, the first coins
appeared in Lydia in 687 BC (the Lydians also had the first retail shops
— we aren’t told which came first, the coins or the shops), and that
the Incas of Peru managed without money.
According to the U.S. Treasury’s Paper Money FAQ, 22.5
million “paper notes” are printed daily in this country. It also
explains the significance of the pyramid and eye on the back of the $1
Interested in what the money of Azerbaijan or Georgia (the country,
not the state) looks like? Ron Wise’s Geographical Directory of World Paper
Money lets you see by clicking on any country.
Something for nothing. Usually that’s worth exactly what you
“paid” for it. But Qualcomm has an offer you shouldn’t refuse. They’re
giving away Eudora, which I consider
the best e-mail program available. And if you’re broke after paying
Uncle Sam, how nice to be able to obtain the best for free. Bestfreebies says it links you to 2
million pages of free things (I didn’t count!). It also rates them.
Got any money left? Might as well invest it and make some
more. Invest-O-Rama links you to
hundreds of investment resources on the Net. The idea behind Whisper Number is that quarterly
earnings and economic indicators are the driving force behind the
up-and-down movements of the stock market, and that’s what they give you
Get them started early. Designed by kids, for kids, Investing for Kids offers a
financial quiz, two stock games, a learning center, and information
tailored to the amount of information or experience a youngster already
has. Especially handy is the goal calculator.
A European vacation. If you — or the kids — make enough
money in the market, why not take that vacation you’ve been talking
about? A couple of Dutch brothers have put together a site that makes
researching every aspect of a trip to Europe much easier. At Eurotrotter, you first
click on a country — Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy,
Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland or the U.K. — to be presented
with links to culture, maps, history, traffic, national parks, weather
forecasts, restaurants, currency exchange rates, events and much more.
The information is also available in your choice of six languages.
Good sports. Once upon a time, boys and girls, there was
baseball season, followed by football season, followed by basketball
season. Now the beginning and ending of each season have so morphed that
it seems they’re all playing at once. Keep up with whatever sport your
prefer at Sports Page.com.