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Master Lock Offers Digital Tools, Advice and Refund Rewards to Ease Tax Season

The tax preparation and filing process can be overwhelming. Requesting electronic copies of the necessary forms and filing online can help ease the process. Click here for high-resolution version

MILWAUKEE, WI--(Marketwire - Mar 11, 2013) -  According to the IRS, the popularity of filing taxes online hit an all-time high of 80 percent last year. Master Lock is providing consumers with advice for a secure and simple tax filing experience, eliminating the need for paperwork. As an added bonus for taxpayers, consumers across the U.S. are invited to register today for a Master Lock Vault account -- a safe and secure online storage and organization system -- and submit an entry for a chance to win one of five $1,000 prizes in the Master Lock "Tax Relief Rewards" Sweepstakes.

"We know that filing taxes can be a cumbersome and nerve-wracking process for many people, which is why we want to make it as simple as possible and even extra rewarding for some," said Rebecca Smith, vice president, marketing for Master Lock. "By using the Master Lock Vault and other digital tax preparation tools, tax payers no longer have to worry about sorting through stacks of paperwork or waiting in long lines at the post office to file. Not only do these tools make preparation faster and easier, but they offer increased security and eliminate the risks associated with hard-copy files of important or confidential documents, such as checks or W-2 forms."

Follow these five tips to utilize digital technology to its full advantage to make the complete process -- from organizing receipts to claiming a refund -- quick and simple.

1. Request electronic copies of your tax forms. Many employers offer employees the option to receive their W-2 forms electronically, instead of by mail. By eliminating the risk of postal delays or missed deliveries, this ensures that your W-2 will be delivered securely as soon as it is available. Plus, faster W-2s can mean faster tax returns.

2. Securely store documents online. Avoid the mess of a mound of paperwork by storing -- and organizing -- all of your tax-related documents online. By utilizing a free, secure service such as the Master Lock Vault (www.masterlockvault.com) you'll have easy access to all of your files wherever you are and help ensure that none of your paper documents will ever be lost, misplaced, stolen or damaged. Not only can you upload PDF forms, but you can upload photos from your phone of important receipts and expenses for your records. All data is instantly synchronized between the website and the App. Bonus: securely store log-in information for your bank accounts and tax filing site in the Vault so you'll never have to worry about forgetting your username or password.

3. Think taxes year-round. Don't wait until you're ready to file your taxes to start collecting and organizing the supporting documents you'll need to complete your return. Avoid the scramble by capturing and uploading a digital image of your receipt each time you pay the babysitter or have a tax deductible transaction, fill a prescription at the pharmacy, or make a charitable contribution such as dropping off a clothing donation to your local thrift store.

4. Opt for direct deposit. If you've done everything else online, why request a hard-copy check when it comes time to claim your refund? When combined with electronic filing, direct deposit is the fastest way to get your refund. If you're on the other side of the spectrum and find that you owe taxes, opt to pay online and you can avoid the long tax-season lines at the post office.

5. Call for help. Sometimes, outside advice is necessary, and you can now get the help you need without leaving home. Based on the complexity of your question, there are a variety of resources to turn to. For example, the IRS offers a toll-free hotline for tax questions during weekdays. Several tax-prep software providers also offer guidance via online forums or on their social media feeds.

Master Lock "Tax Relief Rewards" Sweepstakes
An added bonus of utilizing the Master Lock Vault to organize the tax filing process this year is the chance to win $1,000 to supplement your tax refund, or help ease the burden of additional taxes owed. To enter, new users can register for a Vault account at www.masterlock.com/tax_relief or www.MasterLockVault.com. Once the account has been activated, users will receive an email containing the sweepstakes entry form. Existing Vault users who have opted in for brand communications will receive an email with the sweepstakes entry form once the sweepstakes kicks off March 11. One entry will be accepted per person through April 16, when the sweepstakes closes and five winners will be drawn at random.

Master Lock Vault
Benefits of the Vault extend well beyond the tax season. Use the system year-round, via the website or by installing one of the free mobile apps for your Apple®, Android®, Kindle® or Nook® devices. Securely store and organize lock combinations, digital copies of your passport and social security card and other confidential data such as debit or PIN card numbers or online credit card account log-in information. Offering a high level of online security, the Vault serves as a digital safe deposit box for quick and easy access to valuable information anytime, anywhere.

For more information and to get started, visit www.masterlockvault.com or www.facebook.com/masterlock. To learn more about Master Lock, visit www.masterlock.com/about_us/press_room.jsp. To download high-res images, visit www.masterlockimages.com.

About Master Lock
Master Lock is the world's largest manufacturer of padlocks and related security products providing innovative security solutions for home, automotive, campus, power sports, bike and storage security needs for consumers and industry alike. Master Lock Company LLC is an operating unit of Fortune Brands Home & Security, Inc., a leading consumer brands company. Headquartered in Deerfield, Ill., Fortune Brands Home & Security, Inc. ( NYSE : FBHS ) is included in the S&P MidCap 400 Index. For more information about Master Lock, visit www.masterlock.com.

About the Sweepstakes
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN
. Entry into the Master Lock "Tax Relief Rewards" Sweepstakes is open to permanent lawful residents of the 50 United States and the District of Columbia ("D.C."), who are 18 years or older at time of entry. Limit one (1) entry per person. Sweepstakes begins at 07:00:01 a.m. CDT on March 11, 2013 and ends on April 16, 2013 at 6:59:59 a.m. CDT. Entrants can either access www.masterlockvault.com or www.masterlock.com/tax_relief and follow the on-screen instructions to create a Master Lock Vault account, which will generate a confirmation message containing a link to the Sweepstakes entry form. Existing, opt-in Vault subscribers will receive an email containing a link to the Sweepstakes entry form. For complete rules, go to www.masterlock.com/pdfs/ML_Tax_Relief_Rewards_SS_Rules.pdf. Sponsor: Master Lock Company LLC, 137 W. Forest Hill Avenue, Oak Creek, WI 53154. This Sweepstakes is in no way sponsored, administered, endorsed or associated with Facebook.

*Master Lock is not a legal, tax or accounting advisor, and the information in this press release should not be construed as legal, tax or accounting advice. Master Lock recommends that consumers consult a professional advisor for advice concerning specific tax or other matters.