Good Questions: Tax Returns, Unsold Girl Scout Cookies, Folding Hands For Prayer

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Every Friday, we tackle a bunch of viewers’ burning questions. This week, Heather Brown explores tax returns, unsold Girl Scout Cookies and folding hands for prayer.

Lee and Sandi from Backus want to know: Why do I include last year’s tax refund on this year’s tax return?

“This is because you deducted your 2013 taxes and received a benefit in 2013,” said Tim Smith, a certified public accountant with KDV. “Therefore you’re receiving the refund in 2014, you’re required to pick it up as income.”

Smith points out this is only required if you itemize your deductions, so if you take the standard deduction, you’re not required to report that income.

Cody from Coon Rapids asks: What happens to Girl Scout cookies that aren’t sold?

According to Tammy Freese, a product program manager with Girl Scouts River Valleys, the Girl Scouts buy cookies from their baker each year and they’re not allowed to return them. So, the main office and the troops work hard to manage their inventory wisely so they have few leftovers once the sale is finished. Given the cookies can’t be saved until next year, any leftovers are donated to food shelves around the state.

The Kulhman kids from Hackensack say a prayer before dinner. So, they wonder: Why do we fold our hands when we pray?

“This became a practice in the Middle Ages,” said Charles Reid, a professor of canon law at the University of St. Thomas School of Law. “When you’d hold your hands, it would be a sign of respect, loyalty and a sign of allegiance.”

He points out there are many different ways to pray. For example, Muslim pray by prostration and others pray with their hands open

Plus, holding our hands can keep those little hands from being too busy.

“It focuses the mind, it concentrates the mind,” Reid said. “Especially if they’re saying grace at dinner and you have four or five kids, you want to make sure they’re not getting into mischief.”

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