While the holiday season may be a little more fun, tax season has its perks too. Some people love filing their taxes — they expect a big payout of cash for their hard work the previous year. Some people find the process exhausting, looking through old receipts, organizing documents — what a mess! No matter how you feel about taxes, we have a few tips to make the process go more smoothly and possibly help you receive a larger refund!

1. Save Money and Get your maximum refund

According to Money CNN, many Americans have simple filings that might not require professional assistance.* So what does that mean? Don’t waste your hard-earned money, or worse yet, your precious refund, by paying someone else to do your taxes. If you don’t have a very complicated tax situation, you may be one of the millions of Americans who use TurboTax® and file their taxes themselves. TurboTax helps you get your maximum refund, guaranteed, without having to make an appointment or even leave your house! You can also save up to $15 on TurboTax federal products just for being an Advia member.

The average refund for 2018 was $2,899. How do you compare?

2. Understand the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

Tax Cuts and Jobs Act: an overhaul of the code that doubled the standard deduction. For 2018, it’s $12,000 for singles and $24,000 for married couples filing jointly. The new tax law has also done away with personal and dependent exemptions. They used to be $4,050 for yourself, your spouse, and each dependent. The new law has also limited itemized deductions, including a new $10,000 cap on state and local tax deductions.* Still have questions about the new tax law? Fortunately, TurboTax has your back and can give you tools and information to help you better understand all the tax reform changes. They also have CPAs and EAs available while you file your taxes to help you with your questions right away!

3. File as soon as you have all your information

Filing early can reduce the risk of fraud as well as get you your refund quicker. Last tax season, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) reported approximately $46 million claimed in fraudulent refunds and confirmed 2,204 falsified tax returns involving identity theft.** Fraudsters love tax season because they’re given the opportunity to file someone else’s taxes and receive their refund. Don’t let it happen to you. File quickly and securely using TurboTax federal products or a local, trusted expert.

4. Keep your documents organized to avoid errors

While it may be too late to get completely organized for this year’s taxes, keeping all your documents in a folder or specific location can help you avoid errors next year.  Errors can cause major problems. If you forget to add the income or interest from a certain tax document, you may be able to file an amended tax return to have it corrected; this will cause more work for you as well as delay your full refund. If you forget the document altogether, you could face major penalties from the IRS. The good news is you have plenty of time to get organized for next year — dedicate a folder, drawer, or binder today to stay organized and avoid any potential errors next year!

5. Continue to contribute to IRAs and HSAs until April

You have until the April 15 filing deadline to continue to contribute to tax-free savings products such as a traditional IRA and HSA (Health Savings Account). So what does that mean for you? If you continue to contribute to the filing date of April 15, that means more deductions equaling less income and a larger refund.

While waiting until the filing date can get you a larger return, please keep in mind our advice above to file early to avoid any potential fraud. Please consult your tax advisor or speak to a CPA or EA through TurboTax with any questions.

You don’t need to dread tax season. With a little organization, motivation, and concentration, you will have your taxes done and your maximum refund on the way in no time!

Have questions about tax documents sent to you from Advia? Contact us.


References:

 *https://money.cnn.com/2018/03/22/pf/tax-filing-mistakes-avoid/index.htm

**https://www.fightingidentitycrimes.com/tax-fraud-scammers-ramp-up-their-tactics-in-2019/