Now we can really get down to business.
The shadow of looming government shutdowns seems to be over. This hopefully means that things will remain largely status quo until the tax deadline, and maybe the IRS will actually be caught up from that original shutdown by then.
In recent weeks, I have urged being a little more active in your tax prep while things were a little uncertain, and I will not stop that now. For while some things are in order, there remain other things that aren’t.
For now, there are an ever growing number of stories about people who were expecting tax refunds – because they always got one in the past – but are paying a tax bill this year. It could be much better to find out about that surprise bill on March 1st than April 15th. That way if you need to make some moves to pay the amount, you will have more time to do so and can lessen the stress of doing it.
Those are going to be the stories that get the most play because of the fear they can cause. But sure, there will also be people who fill find more money than expected coming back to them under the new rules. The timing of filing a return may not be as crucial if you find yourself in that camp, but why not get the money sooner? No matter what you are going to do with it, you can’t do it by letting the government keep it in its no-interest holding cell.
Now that we can expect these refunds to come on a regular schedule, too, I wanted to mention a way to find out when you will get that money.
Let me start by just saying that there are no secret tricks to get your money faster. The IRS has a pretty standard schedule, and if there are no issues with your return, getting your refund will follow that schedule. Filing electronically puts you on the fastest schedule, but once you’re there, that’s all you can do. We do not have any clandestine means to move up the line. If we did, I promise we would tell you about them.
We also do not have any more information than what the IRS gives you with its Where’s My Refund tool, available at www.irs.gov/refunds. Through that site you can put in some basic information and find the status of your return and when you can expect a refund.
Beyond that, there’s no secret tricks to taxes at all if you put together a legitimate and legal tax return. The best legitimate and legal return, though, comes with enough time to not rush through it, so make sure to book your appointment as soon as you can.
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