Hardly Taxing: Making the most from your return doesn't have to be difficult

01/31/14 by Jackie Russo

Tax season is on the horizon, and depending on how you view the slow build toward April 15 ultimately will determine whether you attack your W2 or 1040 Form with vigor or a vexing attitude.
If you have your taxes done professionally, you're either a business owner or so many intricacies that relate to your return that attempting to take a crack at it yourself is pure insanity.
Going the route of an accountant isn't all bad, if you don't mind spending a nice piece of change on a pro and the thought of doing it on your own isn't something your accustomed to doing.
That said, today's tax software, particularly the online module, makes piecing together a positive return fairly routine. This is especially true for the 1040EZ form, which takes only a few minutes and even the likes of Turbo Tax and H&R Block will do it free.
So if you've decided that this year will be the year you take the reigns from the professionals and opt to become your own personal tax adviser, you can save yourself money with only a few simple strategic moves that anyone, even you, can do.

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A lot of what makes your tax refund check larger than you'd expect has little to do with the actual return and more to do with how you've allotted your withholding. You can simply reduce your dependents to as little as possible to get a larger return. It might mean a little less in your pay but some would argue that the bulk return more than makes up for a few dollars lighter during the work week.
And when it doubt, deduct any chance you get. You'll obviously want to stay within the guidelines set forth by the IRS, but those deductions can change the landscape of the entire return.
Deductions include but are hardly limited to donations, work related expenses (especially if you work from home), medical expenses that are excessive or even if you've spent countless amounts of money searching for a job.
All of those are pertinent when putting together your return. Far too often people ignore expenses figuring that they won't make much a difference.
Probably the easiest way to make sure you not only get the most money but get it quicker than traditional means is to file electronically. It's hard to imagine that anyone files through the mail these days or that a mass of humanity is rushing to the mailbox at midnight on April 15 in the hopes that the return will get to Uncle Sam in time.
Filing electronically typically costs a few dollars more but you'll have your refund within a week tops, compared to three weeks or more the old fashioned way.
Thinking outside the box bodes well for tax enthusiasts or those who have opted to take the reigns of their refund into their hands in hopes of maximum results.

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