Tax Time Preparedness and Planning

Tax season is swiftly upon us and soon taxpayers will be preparing to file their taxes and plan for their refunds. The IRS estimates that 20 percent of taxpayers who are eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) fail to claim it, which could mean the difference between getting ahead or staying in the red in 2017. The added complication to this common oversight is that new tax law will prevent the IRS from issuing refunds that claim the EITC or Additional Child Tax Credit before February 15. Making sure that taxpayers are aware of the credits and assistance available to them, as well as the impact that delays may have on their refund plans has never been more important.

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3 details you should know while preparing for tax season 2017

Tax season can be an exciting time for savers. This year, more Americans are opting out of a tax time splurge and focusing on getting ahead with their tax refunds.

Early filers can still file as they normally would, but we’ve got a couple tips in mind for how your household can use this information to make the most of your tax time preparations:

  1. File a tax return, even if you do not owe any tax or are not required to file.

    You can’t get the EITC unless you file a return. End of story. Since the IRS estimates that about 25 percent of taxpayers who are eligible for the EITC fail to claim it, this is a vital first step in determining your eligibility.

    Bonus? If this is the first year that you are claiming the credit, you can use the EITC Assistant to see if you qualify for tax years: 2015, 2014 and 2013. You can file any time during the year to claim the EITC.

    Something to know: A new tax law will delay refunds that claim the EITC or the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) until February 15. Learn more here.

  2. Decide where and how you will file your taxes and know your free options.

    Unless you know your return is going to be complicated this year, paying someone to file a tax return should always be a last resort. Decide whether you’d rather file online or in person, and then check out these free filing options:

    • Use Free File on IRS.gov– This free software walks you through a Q&A format to help prepare your return and claim every credit and deduction for which you may be eligible.
    • Try the Free File Fillable Forms– If you're comfortable preparing your own returns, this option is for you! It allows you to file electronically using online versions of IRS paper forms.
    • Visit a free tax preparation site– If your total household income is less than $54,000 a year, you can seek free tax prep at one of thousands of Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA), Military Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (M-VITA), and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) sites. To locate the nearest site, you can search online or call the IRS at 800-906-9887.
       
  3. Make a plan for your tax refund that accounts for the EITC/ACTC delay.

    We know it can be hard to come up with alternative funds if you already had plans for your refund early in the year, but don’t be suckered by refund anticipation products provided by many commercial tax return preparers. The loan fees will have you seeing red.

    If you start your planning by dedicating your refund, or at least part of it, to savings, you can get ahead of your savings goals. Enter  the SaveYourRefund promotion with $35,000 in cash prizes and 101 chances to win simply for saving a portion of your refund. For more information and how to commit to saving prior to filing your return , visit saveyourrefund.com.

Tammy G. Bruzon works for America Saves, managed by the nonprofit Consumer Federation of America (CFA), which seeks to motivate, encourage, and support low- to moderate-income households to save money, reduce debt, and build wealth. Learn more at AmericaSaves.org.

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#SavingsTipTuesday

You could win $25,000 for saving $50 of your tax refund with @SaveYourRefund. http://bit.ly/2i8VJvC #AmericaSaves #SavingsTipTuesday 
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Get some much needed relief. Apply your #taxrefund to your outstanding #debt >> http://bit.ly/2hTDPg2 @AmericaSaves #SavingsTipTuesday
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Set aside your #taxrefund for unexpected repairs or emergency expenses http://bit.ly/2hTMMpt @AmericaSaves #SavingsTipTuesday
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Jumpstart your goals by earmarking this year’s #taxrefund for savings >> http://bit.ly/2hZ6s8A @AmericaSaves #SavingsTipTuesday
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Saving for a rainy day? Put your #taxrefund into emergency #savings >> http://bit.ly/2hTDPg2 via @AmericaSaves #SavingsTipTuesday
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#SavingsFactFriday

Saving even $50 of your #taxrefund can make all the difference. @SaveYourRefund: http://bit.ly/2i8VJvC @AmericaSaves #SavingsFactFriday
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A #taxrefund can provide an opportunity to improve your financial situation: http://bit.ly/2hZ6s8A @AmericaSaves #SavingsFactFriday
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Free tax help and free tax preparation are available in person and online. http://bit.ly/2hZ235z @AmericaSaves #SavingsFactFriday
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If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Beware of tax time scams: http://bit.ly/2h0GqA1 @AmericaSaves #SavingsFactFriday
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Millions miss out on the EITC b/c they don't claim it or don't file taxes at all: http://bit.ly/2i8Ticx @AmericaSaves #SavingsFactFriday
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Your #taxrefund will continue to grow if you put it into savings or retirement http://bit.ly/2hZ6s8A @AmericaSaves #SavingsFactFriday
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Additional Posts

Do you have a tip about saving at tax time? Share it with @AmericaSaves and you could win $25 >> http://bit.ly/2hZ6e1m
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#Taxrefunds (incl. EITC + ACTC) are NOT considered income for those w/public benefits. @RealEconImpact @AmericaSaves
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.@MyFreeTaxes = free tax prep + filing help for qualified ppl w/combined income of $62k or less >> http://bit.ly/2hZ1d9c v/ @AmericaSaves
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A new tax law will delay refunds that claim the EITC or ACTC until Feb. 15: http://bit.ly/2hTPLyb v/ @AmericaSaves
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Do you need to file a tax return in 2017? This #BetterMoneyHabits video can help you find out: http://bit.ly/2hU8smo @AmericaSaves
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Your emergency savings can help you win big this tax season w/ @SaveYourRefund: http://bit.ly/2i8VJvC @AmericaSaves
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After splitting your refund w/Form 8888, all you need is 93 seconds to enter @SaveYourRefund! http://bit.ly/2i8VJvC @AmericaSaves
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What you should know about the EITC delay in 2017 >> http://bit.ly/2hTPLyb v/ @AmericaSaves #taxrefund
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Have questions about how to file taxes in your 20's? Here are 6 easy steps from #BetterMoneyHabits: http://bit.ly/2iH8ICq @AmericaSaves
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Let @AmericaSaves help you stay committed to your tax time #savings goal! Take the pledge today: http://bit.ly/2hbdQ46
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Tip of the Day

  • Written by Tammy G. Bruzon | January 16, 2017

    Saving even $50 of your #taxrefund can make all the difference. @SaveYourRefund: http://bit.ly/2i8VJvC @AmericaSaves

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