Money in a Minute: Headlines for Feb. 11, 2011

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In today's roundup: Companies that pay pathetically little tax, an app that helps you pay your own taxes, a list of inflation-free foods, banks that are going bye-bye, and college students who marry for money.

TAXES: Companies that pay a lower tax rate than you

How would you like to pay less than 2 percent a year in taxes? Carnival Cruise Lines did – only 1.8 percent last year. And investment firm Blackstone Group? A measly .4 percent. “The U.S. corporate tax rate stands at 35 percent, the highest in the industrialized world,” CNN reports. “But finding companies that actually pay 35% is another story.” Warning: Don’t read this story if you have high blood pressure – it’ll just get worse.

TECH: Technology that helps you with your taxes

Speaking of taxes, since you’re not a big corporation, you gotta pay them. But technology is making it easier. Believe it or not, the most intriguing tech comes from the IRS. It’s an iPhone and Android app called IRS2Go, which “provides registered users with the status of their tax refunds and access to current tax provisions that may make filing easier,” claims the San Francisco Chronicle.

INFLATION: Food inflation isn’t in every grocery aisle

The big story this week has been breathless reports that food prices are set to skyrocket. But that’s not necessarily true for rice, dairy, and chicken. CNN calls them “bright spots,” which have thankfully “remained relatively steady in price even as inflation sweeps the globe.”

BANKING: Bank of America to close some branches

Bank of America is the country’s biggest lender, but it’s going to trim some branches this year. Last year, it had 5,865 branch banks, which was 2.6 percent less than the year before – and that downsizing will keep on going. B of A won’t be alone, either. “U.S. banks may close as many as 5,000 branches through 2012,” Bloomberg reports.

MARRIAGE: Get married, save thousands on tuition

Here’s a radical way to save $22,000: Get married so you get in-state college tuition. “These marriages do not technically break any laws, but students are understandably hesitant to speak publicly about them,” The New York Times says, although they found nine couples who did.

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