Federal tax returns are due in about a week. If you've been putting off preparing yours, you're certainly not alone. Many Americans wait until the last minute - which has become easier to do with the plethora of e-filing options now available.
Still, if digging into your tax paperwork sounds like an insurmountable bore, perhaps you can try reframing things in a more positive light. According to one recent news article, tax time is a good opportunity to check on your financial health as a whole. And it's one of the only times that most of us take a close look.
The USA Today article doesn't offer much in the way of enticing things to hunt for. The author suggests checking on:
- Your retirement savings contributions
- The tax efficiency of your investments
- Deductible interest paid on certain debts
- Any interest you earned on cash savings
Those four aspects are not likely to make you at all excited about doing your taxes. But this might: the possibility of getting slightly bigger paychecks throughout the year.
Tax refunds are a nice bonus, regardless of whether you spend them practically or impractically. But if you get a sizeable refund each spring and money is very tight throughout the rest of the year, you may benefit from changing your withholding. It would mean a smaller tax refund but slightly larger paychecks. For a lot of us who struggle with making ends meet, a little extra cash flow each month could make a huge difference.
Of course, if you do your own taxes, you may be missing out on certain deductions and benefits that you aren't aware of. For this reason (and for the sake of convenience), you may want to hire a certified public accountant to help you prepare your return. And if you end up encountering any trouble with the IRS, please seek the help of an experienced tax law attorney right away.