tax collage
Expert Tax Tips For 2016 Filing Season. Photos: Havas FormuLatin / Tim Boyle/Getty Images

It’s tax season again, and whether we like or not, it’s something that we all have to go through. However, it doesn’t have to be a painful or a confusing experience this year. TurboTax spokesperson and lifestyle expert Marinés Duarte shares simple and helpful tips with Latin Times, that will allow us to stay on top of our game and file smarter.“It is no secret that many taxpayers wait until last minute to file their taxes, but why wait? Getting a tax refund can make a big difference in your financial life," Duarte said. Here are some smart pointers on how to file smarter this 2016 tax season:

Ready, set, GO! Know your tax credits beforehand

Tax Day funny quotes. Shutterstock/Thinglass

Mark January 19 on your calendar, gather your W2 – your employer has until the end of January to send it – and other required tax documentation to file ASAP. But don’t rush. You may qualify for a tax credit, which is a dollar-for-dollar reduction of the income tax you owe. For example, if you paid for babysitting or daycare during 2015, you may be eligible for the Child and Dependent Care Credit. On the other hand, if you contributed to your retirement plan – such as a qualified investment account, 401(k) and others –you may be eligible for the Savers Credit. Additional tax credits are available as well.

The earlier you file your taxes the better

You can get started by snapping a photo of your W2 from your phone or tablet and finish them on any device. There’s no reason not to file your taxes early!

You may be eligible to file your taxes for free

If you are one of the 60 million taxpayers with a simple tax return (1040EZ or 1040A) you may be able to file your federal and state tax returns at no cost with TurboTax’s Absolute Zero program, $0 fed. $0 state. $0 to file.

Create a end of year expense recap

Life is full of surprises. Before closing the chapter on 2015, take a moment to consider everything that you did during the year that could affect you financially. Big life events such as getting married or having a baby are easy ones; however, as a mother of four, I recommend taking your time and think about smaller events or expenses, such as ones involving job searches and other business-related expenses.

Create extra time to pay what you owe

Tax contributions from Hispanics
Tax contributions from Hispanics: In 2013, the power of the purse study, revealed that  Hispanic households contributed more than $190 billion to U.S. tax revenues as a whole, including almost $67 billion in state and local tax payments. Of this, foreign-born Hispanics contributed more than $86 billion in tax revenues nationwide. That included almost $32 billion in state and local taxes and more than $54 billion in taxes to the federal government. Shutterstock Photo/ A and N photography

If you decide to file your taxes early, you will have extra time to pay what you may owe to the IRS. If you submit your taxes in February, you will not need to pay the taxes you owe until the filing deadline on April 18. This will give you extra time to figure out how you’re going to pay or find other options you have.

College students can take advantage of many tax deductions and benefits

If you pay for college or trade school costs, you may claim the American Opportunity Tax Credit or the Lifetime Learning Credit for those expenses, as long as your income is under certain amounts. Also, up to $2,500 of the interest students pay in loans is tax deductible, even if you don’t itemize deductions. There are many deductions and savings available for students. For more information and additional tips for college students click here.

Set your mind on skipping the line – do your taxes from home.

Whether you are too busy enjoying 60-degree weather in California or trying to survive 20-degree winters in New York, no one likes to make a special errand to file taxes and spend their precious time waiting in line or spend too much to get their taxes done. Do-it-yourself tax preparation is the fastest-growing tax preparation method, up 5 percent year-over-year, according to the IRS. The rise of DIY tax preparation is especially relevant to the 60 million Americans who have simple tax returns (1040EZ and 1040A) and can file them at absolutely no cost with TurboTax Absolute Zero.

The key to financial success rests on preparing yourself ahead of time and being smart about things you can control, like filing your taxes. That’s why we empower the Latino community to file our taxes ourselves in order to get the biggest refund possible without making an appointment at a tax filing service and without needing prior tax knowledge – guaranteed.

© 2023 Latin Times. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.