5 Ways to Boost Next Year’s Tax Refund Now

Tax Planning

Now that your tax return has been filed, you’re likely ready to put taxes out of your mind until next year. But wait! If you want to maximize your tax refund next year, here are some things you can do now:

  1. Reduce your withholding allowances. If you’ve owed money in the past, it is time to review the allowances you claim at work. Reducing your allowances will increase your income tax withholding, so your paycheck will be less, but the payoff will come next spring when you’ll get a tax refund instead of owing tax. Ask your Human Resources Department for your W-4 form to get started.  You can also use TurboTax W-4 withholding calculator to help you figure out your withholding.
  2. Keep track of deductions. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could open a file and everything you need to prepare your tax return is there? Here’s a simple way to make that happen. Prepare a file and label it “Current Tax Info”, and tuck it into your desk drawer. Now, every time you see something during the year that’s tax deductible, drop it into the file. Don’t forget union dues and unreimbursed employee business expenses like mileage, equipment, education, and supplies.  If you’re self-employed you can track your income, expenses, mileage, and capture your receipts year-round with QuickBooks Self-Employed.
  3. Look for a better job. If your goal is to find a better paying job this year, Uncle Sam is on your side. You may be able to deduct the cost of job-hunting travel, meals, telephone calls, resume preparation, career counseling, and employment agencies, if they exceed two percent of your income, regardless of whether you actually change jobs.
  4. Learn something new. Maybe you want to learn a new career, update your skills in your existing career, or study a subject you are interested in just for the heck of it! No matter your motivation, if your income is moderate, you are eligible for the Lifetime Learning Credit as well as college credits. You can claim a tax credit of 20% of your tuition expenses, up to $2,000 in tax credits. You don’t need to be on track for a degree – the cost of any class that you take at the college level is eligible for the tax credit. Don’t worry about knowing these tax laws. TurboTax will ask you simple questions and figure out the education tax credit or deduction you are eligible for.
  5. Clean out your closets and donate to charity. In addition to creating new space in your life, you can take a quick tax deduction for the fair value(or thrift shop value) of household goods that you no longer use or books and magazines you give to the library. TurboTax ItsDeductible can help you accurately value and track your charitable donations.

Following these easy tips will help you get more money and boost your next tax refund!

Comments (11) Leave your comment

    1. HiSandra,
      If you just purchased a home it may decrease your taxes since you get a deduction for the home mortgage interest you pay, property taxes, and any points you paid to secure your loan. You will will receive a Form 1098 that reflects deductible home mortgage interest and sometimes property taxes if impounded in your home loan. You should also check your HUD-1 settlement statement for property taxes and points paid.
      Thank you,
      Lisa Greene-Lewis

  1. I’ve been trying to let friends and family know it’s a good idea to put a little bit extra back on withholding on both fed and state . 99% of ev1 I’ve told never thought of doing it that way. And OMG . It’s a hiding savings account u don’t see till u do ur taxes . Trust me I got tired every year I had to pay back in taxes . I got tired of that real fast . I only put in $25.00 each week in extra holding for fed & state. And it’s a nice payback in the long run . $1300.00 each from fed and state . Yeap I do it every year. And the big kicker I love the most . When the tax preparer look at ur refund and said WOW. I tell them what I do . It’s my money
    $25 aweek x 52 weeks =1300 ……

    1. Hi James,
      Sorry about your loss. For 2017 as a widower, you may file Married Filing Jointly for your spouse’s year of death. Keeping your joint filing status will allow you to get the same tax breaks as when your spouse was alive, like personal exemptions, lower tax rates, and other valuable tax breaks for married couples. For the next two years following your spouse’s death, you may be able to file as a Qualifying Widower if you have a dependent child, which allows you the same lower tax rate as Married Filing Jointly returns. You will claim income your wife received in 2017 and you will also be able to claim any deductions and credits she was eligible for. If she is entitled to a refund you can claim her refund by filling out and mailing in IRS Form 1310, Statement of a Person Claiming a Refund Due a Deceased Taxpayer when you do her taxes. Here is an artice with more info http://blog.turbotax.intuit.com/tax-planning-2/real-talk-series-i-am-recently-widowed-how-will-this-affect-my-taxes-25359/

      Thank you,
      Lisa Greene-Lewis

  2. I have a 10% medical disability from military service. What if any Federal tax benefit could I qualify for?

    1. Hi Erwin,
      You may see benefits related to your income like your disability income received from the VA may not need to be included in your income as well as grants for homes or vehicles given due to disability should not be included in income. You also include income from combat pay, which is non-taxable when you are trying to qualify to take the Earned Income Tax Credit. You don’t need to know all of these rules, TurboTax will ask you simple questions and give you the tax deductions and credits you are eligible for. Here is another article that may be helpful http://blog.turbotax.intuit.com/tax-tips/tax-benefits-for-military-families-21322/
      Thank you,
      Lisa Greene-Lewis

  3. I rolled over a 403b this year. It was a two tiered annuity and the surrender value was 8K+ less than the account value. Is there anyway for me to write off this “theft” of my 8K that the insurance company kept?

  4. Any tips for a retired tax payer? My wife and I claim 0 exemptions but still paid 13,000 in taxes owed at tax time.

    1. My husband and I are retired also and always end up having to pay federal taxes. We have decided to make quarterly payments to IRS so it isn’t such a big dip at tax time. We also have 0 deductions and federal taxes taken out of our retirement checks.

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