Still Haven’t Filed Your Taxes? Here’s How To Maximize Your Refund And Keep Your Data Safe

By Samantha Bomkamp
Chicago Tribune

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) The deadline to file your taxes is just around the corner. If you haven’t filed yet, there are a few things to keep in mind when preparing your return.

Chicago Tribune

Good news for tax procrastinators: You have a little more time than you think to file your federal income tax forms.

Tax day this year is on Tuesday, April 17 because the usual deadline, April 15, falls on a Sunday. And Monday, April 16 is Emancipation Day, a holiday observed in Washington, D.C.

Still, the deadline is creeping up. If you haven’t filed, there are a few things to keep in mind when preparing your return.

Maximize your refund
You can still take steps to boost your refund. You can contribute to a health savings account or an individual retirement account, if you have them, right up until the filing deadline and lower your taxable income for the 2017 tax year.

Paul Joseph of Joseph & Joseph Tax & Payroll in Williamston, Mich., calls the IRA contribution one of the most advantageous things you can do to reduce your tax burden.

File soon, but don’t rush
Kimberly Butler, a tax preparer who manages two Chicago H&R Block locations, said that mistakes become more common when procrastinators rush to finish. She said some people miss out when their tax status changes because of a life event like a new house or a baby, and in the rush to finish their taxes, they leave a big potential deduction associated with their changed tax status on the table. Others forget to take advantage of common deductions and credits, like student loan interest, or fail to explore options they don’t fully understand, like the earned income credit.

Butler said that many people take the standard deduction when they have the ability to get a bigger refund through itemizing. Itemizing takes work, but it’s worth it, she said. Even a messy shoe box full of receipts can lead a tax preparer to find some hidden refund opportunities, so it’s advantageous to consider itemizing if you have a home, kids, or a newly complicated tax situation.

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