Gershbein’s new favorite cruise line is NCL

Sailor Stan talks tax ‘refunds’

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When the April edition of Family Circle magazine told us that the average tax refund last year was about $2,750, it followed with “Thanks, Uncle Sam.”


What’s with the thanks? That’s our money and it came from tax overpayments. Uncle Sam should be thanking us for letting him hold on to our money for those many months. If we are late in our payments, we have to pay him interest, right? How about him thanking us by giving us a few bucks in interest?

Okay, gang. So what do you intend to do with your refund? Last year 65 percent of us used that money to pay bills. Nine percent are holding on to the money, but haven’t as yet decided what to do with it. Thirteen percent saved it for a rainy day, while another 13 percent will use it on their next vacation. When they do decide where to vacation, I strongly suggest they stay away from California. The Golden State has been hit by droughts followed by serious thunderstorms which caused flooding and mudslides. It just suffered another earthquake. How many does that make? I personally would not want to vacation there but I do know someone who strongly suggested I buy desert property on the eastern side of the San Andreas fault. If another major quake hits that area and California falls into the Pacific Ocean, I will then own expensive beachfront. The funny thing about the thought is that he wasn’t kidding. I heard the theory many years ago.

• • •

I recently read a story about someone who used the Internet to order airline tickets to Panama Beach in Florida and mistakenly bought tickets to Panama City, Panama. I hope he had a good time.

• • •

Last month, without any advance notice, the government of Tunisia refused to permit Israeli nationals to disembark the Norwegian Jade at its port of call in Tunis. Norwegian Cruise Line chief Kevin Sheehan, immediately announced the cancellation of all future calls to Tunisia, claiminng his boats will not return.

“We are outraged by this act,” he said. “We want to send a strong message to Tunisia and ports around the world that we will not tolerate such random acts of discrimination against our guests.”

I am an avid cruiser with 97 cruises under my belt. At every port, thousands of us disembark with lots of money to spend on taxis, tours, T-shirts, shmattas and a whole lot of chozerei to shlep home as souvenirs. We leave a lot of scratch in those ports. I guess Tunisia is so wealthy that it doesn’t need tourist money.

I am shouting a great big “Thank you” to Mr. Sheehan. The best way to show my gratitude is to give Norwegian some of my cruise business. By the time you read this, I will be aboard the new Norwegian Getaway sailing from Miami and I am also booked on the Norwegian Pride of America sailing out of Honolulu.

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Reader Feedback

Ed Stein from Brighton Beach says:
The last time that I filed for a refund - it did come with normal interest paid by banks at the time (OK it was a bit less than normal but still reasonable).

However, since the gov't is now in bed with the banks and interest is around 0.1% per year - there is no interest to be paid.

If you had the $2750 in your bank account for an entire year, you would have earned a whopping $2.75. From that the bank deducts all sorts of fees.

The problem is that the banks get money for as close to free as can be and still charge outrageous interest and fees. AND they do not calculate the interest they pay the same way that they calculate the interest that the customer OWES.

Guess what - when they pay you 5% they pay less than you do when you pay 5% .
March 31, 2014, 8:25 am
Governor from Cobble Hill says:
Dear Mr. Stein,
You used a lot of words to say what everybody already knows. From the government you get bupkis. But when we owe them for being late, we have to pay and pay and pay.
Dear Mr. Gershbein,
You have a big mouth. Now that you have broadcasted to the world that we get refunds, our man in the White House will surely find a way to keep that money.
Just one more thing.....Keep cruising. When and where will number 100 be?
March 31, 2014, 10:03 am
Tinman from Sheepshead Bay says:
Thanks for the info on what Americans do with their IRS refunds. (Atleast you refrained from your Fox-like anti-Obama opining this week.)
Did it take you long to surf the Internet to find these startling facts or is that how your spend your leisure time between cruises?
You're just a bundle of trivia aren't you, Stan?
What's next, three out of four dentists chewing Dentyne between visits?
April 5, 2014, 7:37 am

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