Tax Returns from last year were due in mid-April. So now that you've filed your return, what are some ways to help improve your tax return and refund maximization strategy for next year? In this article, we've outlined several important ways to do exactly that!

Are you expecting a tax refund this year? If so, you'll want to make sure you get the most out of it! Everyone wants to get the biggest tax refund possible. The tax laws can change over time, but millions of Americans expect to receive a sizable refund check soon after they file their tax returns for the year.

The key to success with taxes is to minimize your total tax bill. In addition to what you owe when you file your tax return, you need to consider what taxes you withheld from your pay during the year. In this article, we'll talk about how tax refunds work, some key deadlines to keep in mind, and some of the most popular options for making sure you get every penny you deserve back from Uncle Sam.

This information is only intended to be used for general informational purposes. Please consult a tax professional for the most current data and/or personal advice.

Why do we get tax refunds in the first place?

By simply having people write a large check to the federal government to cover their entire tax liability, the tax system would work just fine. But instead, the government decided to start withholding federal income tax from every paycheck. Employees would effectively cover a portion of their yearly tax bill every time they got paid.

You would not need a refund if withholding exactly matched your eventual tax liability. Nevertheless, the government often holds back more than it needs to in order to cover what it owes. Whenever that happens, the government has to reimburse you -- and that's when a tax refund is issued.

There are several reasons why the government made that decision. First, it wants to be able to collect taxes on the income paid in a given year before April 15 of the following year. To achieve this, government officials ideally want to see a fairly constant flow of tax revenues throughout the year, so they can match the amount of money they pay staff, contractors, and other parties with what they bring in through taxes.

The government also recognizes that a significant number of people are unable to save up enough throughout the year to pay a large tax bill when they file their taxes. In most cases, people in this position are unable to pay their taxes in full, which can lead to penalties, interest, and negotiating with the IRS to come up with longer-term payment plans.

Boost your refund rate

Boosting your tax refund isn't just about getting more money back from the government – it's also about making sure that you're taking full advantage of all available tax credits and deductions. To get started, you'll need to do some careful planning and take stock of your financial situation. Consider talking to a tax professional or using an online tax preparation software tool to help guide you through the process.

Once you have a clear picture of your earnings and expenses, review the various options for reducing your taxable income and maximizing valuable tax credits. Some examples include contributing to a retirement account, taking advantage of deductions for business expenses, and claiming dependents if you have children or other qualifying dependents in your household. With a little effort and thorough planning, you can significantly boost your chances of getting a bigger refund this year!

Consider whether to itemize or take the standard deduction

One of the most important decisions you can make when filing your taxes is whether to itemize or take the standard deduction. There are a few factors to consider in making this choice.

To start, you will need to calculate your total deductions. This includes mortgage interest, state and local taxes, charitable donations, and other allowable expenses. If your total deductions exceed the standard deduction amount, then itemizing may be the better choice.

However, even if your total deductions are less than the standard deduction, you may still want to itemize if you have a large number of deductible expenses in one category, such as charitable donations. Ultimately, the decision of whether to itemize or take the standard deduction depends on your individual tax situation.

Be as accurate as you can when you claim your filing status

As any tax professional will tell you, one of the most important factors in determining your tax filing status is accuracy. Whether you are filing as a single individual or as a married couple, it is essential to be clear about the details and to ensure that any information that is provided is accurate. Factors such as age, residency status, and income level play a big role in determining your status, so being careful and precise with this information is key.

It is also important to remember that certain qualifications may apply depending on the type of tax filing status that you choose. For example, if you claim head of household status, you will need to have one or more qualifying dependents living with you. Overall, accuracy when claiming your filing status can have a huge impact on both your tax liability and your overall financial situation. So be sure to make informed decisions based on the facts, rather than guesswork or wishful thinking. In the end, being accurate will be well worth it!

Take retirement account withdrawals with caution

When it comes to withdrawing money from your retirement account, it is important to proceed with caution. These funds are usually intended for long-term use, and taking them out too early can have serious consequences for your financial security. Withdrawals can trigger costly penalties and taxes that could seriously impact your bottom line. In addition, drawing down the amount in your account can severely reduce its value over time, hindering your ability to meet your retirement goals.

To avoid these pitfalls, it is essential to plan ahead when considering a withdrawal from your retirement account. Start by doing your research and weighing all of your options before making any rash decisions. Consider whether you need the money right away or if you could wait until a later date when dealing with less restrictive withdrawal conditions. And above all else, remember that planning ahead is always smarter than panicking and taking action in the moment.

With these tips in mind, you can safely navigate the sometimes tricky world of retirement account withdrawals and ensure that you are able to enjoy the financial freedom you've worked so hard for in later life.

Consider using a health savings account if you can

When it comes to managing your health care costs, there are a number of different strategies that you can use. One option that many people find particularly appealing is a health savings account or HSA. These accounts are designed to help you better manage your healthcare expenses so that you can save money on everything from routine doctor's visits to more expensive procedures and treatments.

One of the biggest advantages of HSAs is that they give you tax-free benefits for your health care expenses, which can be very helpful when dealing with high out-of-pocket costs. If you're looking for a smart and effective way to reduce health care costs, then a health savings account may be the right choice for you.

Invest in retirement accounts that are tax-deferred

Saving for retirement is essential for anyone who wants to maintain a comfortable lifestyle after they stop working. However, it can be difficult to set aside money each month when there are so many other demands on your income.

One way to make retirement saving easier is to invest in accounts that offer tax deferral. This means that you won’t have to pay taxes on the money you contribute to the account until you withdraw it in retirement. As a result, you’ll be able to put more money into your retirement savings and watch it grow faster. And when you do eventually retire, you’ll have a larger nest egg to help support yourself.

So if you’re serious about saving for retirement, be sure to consider investing in a tax-deferred account.

If you are a student or your child is in college, use the American Opportunity tax credit

If you are a college student or the parent of a college student, it is important to take advantage of all available resources and financial aid. One valuable resource is the American Opportunity tax credit, which allows you to deduct up to $2,500 per eligible student from your federal tax liability. This credit can help to offset some of the significant costs that come with pursuing higher education, including tuition, books, supplies, and even room and board for students who live on campus.

Additionally, this tax credit is phased out based on family income. So if you are in college or have a child in college, be sure to take advantage of the American Opportunity tax credit so that you can make the most of your hard-earned money.

You must include all withheld taxes on your return

When you prepare your taxes each year, it is important to include all of the correct information. This includes any income that you have earned, as well as any deductions or credits that you may be entitled to. One thing that many people forget to include is withheld taxes. If you have had taxes withheld from your paychecks throughout the year, you must include this on your tax return.

Failure to do so can result in a large tax bill or even penalties and interest charges. So, when you are gathering up your information for your tax return, be sure to include any and all withheld taxes. This will help to ensure that you file a complete and accurate return.

Depending on your income, you may qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit

The Earned Income Tax Credit is a federal tax credit for low- and moderate-income working taxpayers. The credit can reduce the amount of taxes you owe, and it may also give you a refund. To qualify, you must have earned income from wages, self-employment, or farming. You also must meet certain rules regarding filing status, age, and investment income.

The amount of the credit depends on your income and the number of children you have. The credit is subject to change each year, so it's important to check the latest IRS guidelines to see if you qualify. If you do, the earned income tax credit can be a valuable way to reduce your tax burden.

Conclusion

Maximizing your tax refund can be a challenge, but it’s worth the effort. By following some simple tips and being as accurate as possible when you file, you can make sure that you get the most out of your money. If you are looking for ways to reduce your tax burden, consider working with an advisor. They can help you navigate the complex world of taxes and ensure that you take advantage of all the deductions and credits available to you.

Contact us today to learn more about investing and IRA options that can help reduce your tax burden!

Navigating taxes can be tricky

Stay ahead of tax season with a Rivermark Holiday & Tax Savings Account.

Open a Tax Savings Account