1. Get Organized
Save yourself time by gathering all applicable tax documentation beforehand, including receipts and interest statements. Some common forms include:
- W-2: Wage and Tax Statement
- W-4: Employee Withholding Certificate
- 1040: US Individual Income Tax Return (1040-SR: U.S. Tax Return for Seniors)
- 1099: Miscellaneous Income
- 1098: Mortgage Interest Statement (1098-T: Tuition Statement)
2. File Online
Opting to file a paper tax return can translate to weeks or even months of delays. Regardless of whether you’re expecting a refund, e-filing is the best option for prompt processing. For those wanting to steer clear of online software fees, the IRS offers free filing which nearly 100 million Americans opted for last year. (Note that some IRS Free File providers do charge a fee for state tax preparation.)
3. Double-check Deductions
It’s easy to overlook opportunities for tax deductions, especially if you experienced major life transitions in 2022 such as the purchase of a home or vehicle or the start of a new job. Among the most overlooked tax deductions that can help you pocket more money are contributions to a Health Savings Account (HSA) and contributions to a traditional IRA. (Roth IRA contributions won’t trim your tax bill but does allow you to max out the limits for retirement saving.)
4. Avoid Common Errors
Before filing, make sure you’ve reviewed your personal information such as your social security number, employer identification numbers, calculations, and signature/date to ensure that your return doesn’t have any last-minute mistakes. Minor errors can result in a rejected return and/or a delayed refund.
5. Consider an Extension
If making it before midnight on the 18 this a hurdle, you can request an automatic tax-filing extension. Filing this form gives you until October 15th to submit your tax return (note that since October 15th falls on a Sunday in 2023, your technical due date is Monday, the 16th.) There’s no penalty for filing a late return if you’re receiving a refund, but if you owe tax, late payment by even one-day can result in penalties and interest.
Maximize Your Refund
If you’re anticipating a refund this season, Making the Most of Your Money is a quick and easy online course that provides tips on how to spend it — from establishing an emergency fund to saving up for vacation.
Copywrite 2023, by GreenPath Financial Wellness. This article is shared by our partners atGreenPathFinancial Wellness, a trusted national non-profit.