April 17 is fast-approaching, and now is the time to get serious about your tax return. Just like credit repair, the power to save money and strengthen your financial life begins with decisive action. Incorporate the following tips into your routine this season. The results may afford you additional savings.
1. Skip the accountant. Sure, you may be nervous about filing taxes solo, but the cost of accounting services can be steep, especially close to tax time. Avoid the extra expense, and put some faith in your own abilities. Go to the IRS website to take advantage of their free filing instructions and e-forms. If you are looking for long-term solutions, invest in commcercial software to help you file for years to come. The bottom line: why pay for something you can do yourself? Take a page from the credit repair handbook, and practice some initiative.
2. Compare forms. Speaking of initiative, why not go the extra mile to save money? Complete the short and long forms this year and compare their totals side-by-side. Many people find larger refunds on the long form in lieu of the easier route. It may take more time, but the potential savings are worth it. Consider your efforts to be one more frugal credit repair goal, and just go for it.
3. Contribute and save. Investing in the future is a great way to save on taxes in the present. Contribute to your long-term savings plans, including retirement accounts (401k and IRAs) and college funds. If you are involved in charity, make sure to keep records of your monetary or itemized donations. It all adds up.
4. Keep receipts. Chances are, your year is filled with more than balancing a checkbook and fine-tuning a budget. Will you remember all the tax-deductible purchases from July? When it comes to saving money, keeping track of deductible expenses is critical. Organize your receipts this year by filing them in appropriate categories, e.g., “supplies,” “work expenses,” etc. Cashing in on savings is easier with the information at your fingertips.
5. Plan ahead. You may be regretting last year’s choices, thinking, “If only I had kept my receipts or paid more attention to my savings.” While you can’t change the past, now is an excellent time to begin planning for the future. If credit repair is on your to-do list, your bank account likely needs all the help it can get. Remember, strong finances are built on:
• Organization. Don’t dump your receipts into messy shoe box. Begin your saving efforts by organizing them from Day 1.
• Savings. Retirement funds are essential. Contribute to your accounts regularly throughout the year.
• Education. If you can learn about and start a credit repair program, you can learn about taxes. Make an effort to educate yourself now about deductible expenses, exemptions, etc. Preparing for 2013 starts today.