Nobody likes to pay more in taxes than they absolutely have to. By the time you start preparing your return, it’s too late to use some of the smartest tactics to control the size of your tax bill. Instead, you have to plan in advance to make sure your refund is as big as possible.
If your return is fairly simple and you’re up for the challenge, preparing your taxes solo could save you a bit of money. In fact, an estimated 33% of Americans file their own taxes each year, so if you’re ready to join their ranks, here are a few tips for getting through the process.
1. Prepare your return early
2. Figure out whether you’ll be itemizing this year
“It’s been almost six months since Equifax announced a massive data breach that exposed personal information for as many as 145 million Americans.Cyber thieves could use that data to open up credit cards, take out loans, or carry out a medical theft.
“But many Americans aren’t being proactive to protect their financial well being. Half of adults in the U.S. haven’t checked their credit report or score in the last six months, according to a survey from CreditCards.com…”
Buying a house instead of renting is, depending where in the country you live, often more cost-effective. But upgrading from a smaller home to a larger home and mortgage? Probably not.
“There are solid reasons to upgrade your home. For many, it was always the plan. You buy a starter home, and upgrade to a larger one once your family expands. Or your income expands, and you finally move into your dream home. Regardless of your reason, the typical first step is determining what you can afford. A standard rule for lenders is that your monthly housing payment (principal, interest, taxes and insurance) should not take up more than 28% of your income before taxes. A quick and dirty way to check how much you can afford is through calculators like myFico calculator.