I hope you began the official celebration this week. What, you didn’t know? As of Monday, the IRS has officially started tax season. Granted, this is something I write about a lot, and with Congress passing tax reform at the end of the last year, it may seem like we have been in tax season for months, but the actual acceptance of returns only began this week.
Of course, this involves lots of numbers, and one big one is that the IRS is expecting to get 155 million returns, with 70 percent of those expected to result in refunds. And last year, the average refund was $2,895. That’s a lot of money moving around, and as always, we are eager to help you get as big a piece of that as possible.
And as I always preach, getting started early is one of the best ways to make this happen. By this point, you have probably received some tax forms in the mail, and most of what you have not yet seen will arrive in the next week or so. Open those envelopes, give a quick look to make sure that everything looks as it should, then keep them all together.
At the same time, though, think of the other things that you need to help maximize any refund. Do you claim a home office deduction and need utility bills? Do you have some receipts for business meals that can be deducted? Overall, it is a good strategy to remember that whatever documents you used last year are worth gathering this year again. For most of us, after all, our financial situations don’t change THAT much from year to year.
If your situation has changed significantly, though, you may want to schedule an early appointment for your taxes. For sure, you will know many of the forms and documents that you will need for a full return, but we can discuss your new situation and find out if there are others that will help your return look even better.
But even if things are going to almost exactly like they were for you last year, wouldn’t you enjoy just getting it over with? As the IRS said, most people are expecting refunds, after all, so why not let being a little proactive get some extra money in your bank account sooner.
And those refunds can come pretty quickly, too. Around 90 percent of taxpayers now file electronically, which allows most people who receive a refund to get it in less than three weeks. Though be warned that those who claim the Earned Income Tax Credit and/or the Additional Child Tax Credit are not expected to start receiving theirs until February 27. And yes, that can be a bit of a bummer for those who file early with those credits, but it’s a measure the IRS has taken to try to prevent fraud, and I suppose we have to be forgiving when it takes such actions for such reasons.
But yes, we have arrived. So for those who are ready, stay on top of it. I mean, we will remain eager to help you even as we approach the April 17 deadline, but our calendar gets fuller by then, and your chances to take advantage of every deduction for which you could be eligible could decrease. Time is currently on our side, let’s use it.
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