Maximizing your tax refund and claiming refundable credits can make all the difference for working families. Research shows that more money in a tax refund means less stress, better health and higher incomes for the next generation.
Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax-Aide sites are free, licensed tax preparation services that help working families maximize their refunds and refundable credits like the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit. They save taxpayers an average of nearly $300 in tax preparation fees.
Schedule an Appointment
Appointments with a tax preparer can be stressful, but they can also help you maximize your tax-prep assistance benefits. If you schedule an appointment well in advance, your tax preparer will have time to review your current financial situation and discuss the best strategies for reducing your tax bill. Given that tax bills can be expensive, you should look into tax websites that provide professional tax preparation and filing assistance at a discount price by using coupons or an H&R Block promo code.
You should also bring any documents that will help your tax preparer complete your taxes accurately. For example, you may need documentation for your business expenses or your earned income.
If you plan to file your taxes at a site or with a paid preparer, check for the necessary documentation. Both services will have a list of required documents for their clients.
In-person tax sites require an appointment, and the wait times may vary depending on the site. You can find a location and the documents you must bring to the site by visiting the IRS’s locator.
Many tax advisors use web scheduling on their websites to collect appointments for the tax preparation services they offer. Adding online booking to your website can free up your time answering calls and reduce appointment cancellations.
Meet with Your Tax Preparer
Tax preparers are professionals who have a lot of knowledge about taxes. That’s why it’s essential to research and find a qualified professional you can trust.
For starters, ensure the preparer has a preparer tax identification number (PTIN) and complies with all IRS requirements. Also, look for a credentialed tax preparer, certified public accountant (CPA), licensed attorney or enrolled agent.
Clients should also bring any information pertinent to the tax return, such as a new job, a spouse’s new job, a divorce, a medical emergency, an inheritance or any significant life changes. This is particularly important for self-employed people or having multiple business entities, as it may take a lot of work to keep track of everything in their tax returns.
Finally, a business owner should collect all of the financial statements for their company, including the balance sheet, income statement and general ledger. They should also contain their receipts and bank statements from the year.
As a final step, clients should bring any documentation that supports itemized deductions or other claims on their tax returns. These include mortgage interest statements, state and local taxes, out-of-pocket medical expenses, charitable donations and more. They should also bring the insurance premiums they paid for themselves and their dependents.
Prepare Your Taxes in Advance
Getting organized and submitting your tax forms early will help maximize your tax-prep assistance benefits. It will also ensure that your return is completed by the April deadline and that you receive your refund as quickly as possible.
To ensure you get all the information you need, look at your receipts and forms from last year and organize them by category if you itemize deductions. Organizing your records will save you time and money when filing.
It’s also important to be prepared to provide all of your documents to the tax site where you plan to have your taxes prepared. It’s a good idea to bring copies of all W-2s and 1099s, tax returns for all freelance or small-business work you performed in the past year and any other receipts or proof of expenses associated with your work.
Many free tax sites offer specialized tax prep and filing assistance for freelancers, small-business owners and gig workers. These technical services are free, but you must fill out additional forms and bring a government-issued ID and SSN.
A great way to maximize your tax-prep assistance benefits is to get organized. Organized people can focus on tasks and get them done quickly and efficiently. This helps them to be more productive and happy at work.
Organization is a skill that can be learned and honed like any other soft skill. It can take time and effort, but it’s well worth the work!
A critical aspect of being organized is establishing a good routine. Doing so can create habits that will help you stay organized.
Another important way to get organized is to keep a daily to-do list. This will help you remember what needs to be done and all important dates and events.
The key is to make sure that you can see the list every day and cross off any items that have been completed. This will also help you to feel more productive and avoid procrastinating.
Once you’ve mastered this organizational habit, it can be used for other areas of your life. For example, you can use a to-do list to organize your finances and track your income and expenses.
Another way to get organized is to get rid of clutter. If you have items you use sparingly or have been sitting in your closet for too long, consider donating them. This will allow you to stay organized and keep your home tidy at the same time.