With tax day right around the corner, many Americans are expecting a tax return. Many will use that return for things like paying off credit card debt, building up a savings fund, and too much shopping. Here are some credit counseling tips to use that return to its fullest.
How To Best Utilize Your Tax Return
One of the first decisions to make regarding your tax refund is how you want to receive the funds. The amount of time between filing taxes and receiving a return depends on the filing method. Paper filing can take up to 6-8 weeks, especially if you file on the deadline. Alternatively, E-filing can take up to 21 days and allows users to check the status of their refund online. Users can do this by visiting www.irs.gov and submitting their social security number, filing status, and refund amount.
The time period between filing your taxes and receiving the refund is an opportunity for consumers to plan ahead and think about how you are going to spend your tax return. Will you use your return towards a debt reduction plan? Or will you put the money towards savings? Whichever route you choose to take, there are considerations to make while anticipating a tax return.
Tips to Utilize Your Tax Return
- Review outstanding expenses such as unpaid bills and prioritize them. For example, if you are behind on rent or mortgage payments, these should be the first priority. Next, list utilities and any expenses that may cause a disruption in service or that may jeopardize your livelihood. While all of your debt obligations are important, consider the consequences of default and weigh those against your priority list. Your budgeting worksheets and expense trackers can come in handy here.
- Caught up on all of your monthly bills? Use this refund as a stepping stone for future goals. Start a savings account or use the money to pay off credit card debt. You can consider contributing to a 401k or pay off a few of your future monthly expenses like car insurance or child care payments. Additionally, it might be in your best interest to use the refund to set up an emergency fund. Whatever option you choose, make sure it supports your future goals and needs. This is an opportunity to get ahead and set your priorities for the remainder of the year.
- Use this time to look at your W-2 status and ensure you are maximizing tax return opportunities. This is especially important if you end up having to pay taxes or your tax refund is declining. Job and salary changes can impact your deductions. If any of these have occurred, this is a chance to review and make adjustments.
The bottom line is to use your money wisely. We hope these tips will help you make the right choice!
If you’re struggling to pay off debt, ACCC can help. Schedule a free credit counseling session with us today.