Tax Season Has Come and Gone – Five Tips to Ensure April’s Showers Bring May Dollars
Now that the deadline for filing tax returns has passed, the flurry of tax season is behind us. Whether your tax return turned out just the way you’d hoped (maybe you’re getting a healthy refund) or you ended up with an unpleasant surprise (perhaps finding out that you owe more money than you’d planned), the season is behind us and it’s time to look toward our financial futures.
The end of tax season is also marked by the start of warm weather, getting many people in the mood for spring cleaning. As we’re doing yard work, cleaning out the closets and opening up swimming pools, there’s no time like the present to also do some “spring cleaning” for your finances.
Here are a few tips for how you can plant the seeds now for a fruitful financial future:
- Take an inventory of your financial situation and clear away the clutter. It’s easy to accumulate a large collection of credit cards, online accounts and recurring monthly bills, and just as you’ll likely clean your house this spring, it’s important to do the same with these items, keeping only what you need and can truly keep track of.
- Remember that one person’s trash is another’s treasure and find ways to make money off the items you clean out of your house. Whether through the many online shopping sites available today or a more traditional garage sale, the money you earn from past splurges can be used for future investments.
- Rather than just tossing the things you don’t sell or no longer need, think about where you can donate them. This way you’ll be helping out someone else’s financial situation, and if you keep careful records you’ll be setting yourself up for tax breaks next year.
- As we discussed in a recent 22Dollars article, if you were lucky enough to get a refund this tax season find a way to put that money to good use. Rather than going shopping to buy things you’ll end up cleaning out next spring, think about something you can do with that money that will have long-term benefits – like paying off loans, investing it wisely or buying an asset.
- Reflect on your experience completing your 2007 tax return, particularly any issues that caused you frustration, and develop a plan to combat those issues this year. For example if you were missing many of the important documents you needed to claim deductions, immediately start a filing system to get yourself organized for 2008 and avoid this headache in the coming year.
Congratulations to everyone on making it through one season and best wishes as we start the next! As always we’d love to hear any other tips or tricks you have that others might find helpful as we all clean out the clutter!