COMMENTARY | COLUMNISTS | GEORGE CHAMBERLIN

Money in the Morning

Today is National Tax Advice Day at H&R Block. According to the IRS, taxpayers overlook an estimated $1 billion a year in missed credits and deductions. About 65 percent of taxpayers surveyed aren't aware of changes in the law that could save them even more money this year. Perhaps the biggest mistake workers make is having too much money withheld from their paychecks. About 75 percent of all taxpayers received refunds last year that averaged $2,400. By adjusting your withholdings you can take home more pay or use the extra amount to fund a retirement plan. The company has launched www.nationaltaxadvice.com to provide free information and services to taxpayers.

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Home Depot has entered into a marketing partnership to become the "official home improvement sponsor of the National Football League." The company will be the title sponsor for the NFL Experience at this year's Super Bowl in Florida, an event that football fans in San Diego will remember as a lot of fun for the entire family.

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But, not all is well at Home Depot. A group of angry shareholders in Atlanta have requested a temporary restraining order that would block former CEO Bob Nardelli from receiving all of the $210 severance package announced last week when he stepped down from HD. He has already received some of the compensation but the group claims that the company will suffer "irreparable damage" if he gets the whole deal.

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IBM set a new record for the number of U.S. patents earned in one year in 2007. The company broke its own record set in 2005 by getting 3,621 patents last year. It was the 14th consecutive year that Big Blue won more patents than any other company.

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Unemployment lines got a lot shorter in the past week. The Labor Department reported that the number of people filing for jobless benefits fell by 26,000 to 299,000, the lowest level since July. Combine that with the strong December jobs news reported last Friday and it looks like the labor markets are very strong at the start of 2007.

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