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Worried About a Low Tax Return? Real Ways to Get the Biggest Refund from the IRS

Worried About a Low Tax Return? Real Ways to Get the Biggest Refund from the IRS

That moment when you figure out Uncle Sam owes you money instead.

When tax season rolls around, many people eagerly await their tax refund check from the Internal Revenue Service. While it’s not ideal to overpay taxes throughout the year, as you essentially give the federal government an interest-free loan, an accurate tax return can result in a larger refund.

To get the maximum refund next tax filing season, there are several strategies you can employ. First, consider itemizing deductions instead of taking the standard deduction if your eligible expenses exceed the standard amount. Common deductions include charitable contributions, medical expenses, and mortgage interest.

Additionally, selecting the right filing status is crucial. Your filing status determines your tax rates and eligibility for certain tax credits. For example, if you’re a single parent, filing income taxes as head of household may lead to more tax savings.

Speaking of tax credits, these are valuable opportunities to reduce your tax liability dollar-for-dollar. Take advantage of tax credits such as the Child Tax Credit, Earned Income Tax Credit, and the Child and Dependent Care Credit if you qualify.

Contributing to retirement accounts and health savings accounts can also increase your refund. Pre-tax contributions to these accounts lower your taxable income, resulting in potential tax savings.

Finally, consider seeking the assistance of a tax expert who can help you identify all eligible deductions and credits, ensuring you get the most tax breaks on your return.

If you are worried about a low tax return, there are real ways to maximize your tax refund. By employing strategies such as itemizing deductions, selecting the right tax filing status, claiming applicable tax credits, and utilizing retirement and health savings accounts, you can increase your chances of receiving a larger refund.

Itemize As Many Deductions as You Can

One effective strategy that goes outside of basic tax return preparation is to consider itemizing your deductions. By taking the time to carefully review your expenses and itemize as many deductions as possible, you can significantly impact the size of your annual tax refund.

There are several types of deductions that can be itemized, including medical expenses, state and local taxes, mortgage interest, and charitable contributions. If your total eligible expenses in any of these categories exceed the standard deduction, it may be worth itemizing to potentially increase your refund.

For example, if you’ve had significant medical expenses throughout the year, such as doctor’s visits, medications, or hospital bills, these costs can be itemized and deducted from your income. Additionally, state and local taxes paid, including property taxes, can also be itemized. Depending on the state, you may even be able to write off sales taxes on large purchases to ease your total tax burden.

If you own a home and have been making mortgage payments, you can include this in your itemized deductions as well. And don’t forget about charitable contributions! If you’ve made donations to qualified charity organizations, make sure to include these as well.

Select the Right Tax Filing Status

Choosing the right tax status can have a significant impact on your federal income tax refund. There are several options to consider, depending on your individual circumstances.

If you are single and not married, your filing status will be “Single.” The single filer is the most straightforward status for tax purposes, and it’s applicable if you are not legally married or are divorced or legally separated. Individual taxpayers have it relatively simple, but also face a stricter income level.

On the other hand, if you are married, you have two options that each require some tax planning: “Married Filing Jointly” or “Married Filing Separately.” When you file a joint return, you combine your income and deductions with your spouse. This can often result in a larger tax refund due to the higher standard deduction and potentially lower tax rates. However, in some cases, it might be more beneficial to file separately, especially if one spouse has high medical expenses or if you want to be responsible for your individual tax liability.

Another filing status is “Qualifying Widow(er) with Dependent Child.” This status is available for the two years following the death of a spouse if you meet certain criteria. It allows you to use the tax rates and benefits of a married person, offering potential tax benefits.

Lastly, if you are unmarried but provide the primary support for a qualifying person, such as a child or a dependent parent, you may qualify for the filing status “Head of Household.” This status offers a larger standard deduction compared to filing as a single individual.

Choosing the right filing status is crucial because it can impact your tax liability and potential tax refund. Consider your unique situation, consult with a tax professional, and maximize your tax refund by selecting the filing status that aligns with your circumstances.

Claim Every Tax Credit You Can Qualify for

When it comes to getting the biggest tax refund on your annual tax return, one of the key strategies is to claim every tax credit you can qualify for. Tax credits are a valuable way to reduce your tax liability and potentially increase your refund. There are various common credits available, each with its own eligibility criteria and requirements. Some common tax credits include the Child Tax Credit, the Additional Child Tax Credit, the Earned Income Tax Credit, and the Child and Dependent Care Credit. However, you can also look into refundable credits from having solar panels, setting up a home office, or claiming credit for energy-efficient vehicles you drive.

By taking advantage of each additional tax credit, you can significantly reduce your tax liability and potentially receive a larger refund.

Common Tax Credits Available

When it comes to maximizing your tax refund, taking advantage of refundable tax credits can be a game-changer. Tax credits are powerful tools that lower your taxable income dollar for dollar, potentially resulting in a larger refund or a lower tax liability on your income tax return. There are several common tax credits you should be aware of and explore to maximize your tax refund.

One popular tax credit is the Child Tax Credit. This credit provides a tax benefit for parents or guardians with dependent children. The 2023 tax year saw an increase in the maximum credit amount, making it an even more valuable opportunity to reduce your tax liability.

Another valuable credit is the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), which is designed to help low to moderate-income individuals and families. The EITC can significantly reduce the amount of taxes owed, and in some cases, it may even be refundable, meaning you could receive a refund even if you don’t owe any taxes.

For individuals pursuing higher education, the American Opportunity Tax Credit and the Lifetime Learning Credit can be significant. These educational credits can help offset the costs of tuition, fees, and even qualifying education expenses, potentially resulting in a larger tax refund.

Of course, there are several other tax credits available, such as the Child and Dependent Care Credit, the Saver’s Credit, and the Residential Energy Efficient Property Credit, among others. However, it’s important to note that not all tax credits apply to everyone. Checking your eligibility and understanding the specific requirements for each credit is crucial.

Exploring and understanding the common tax credits available for the 2024 tax year can make a significant difference. Taking maximum credit for your lifestyle can lower your taxable income and help you stay within income thresholds so you can potentially receive a larger refund or reduce your tax liability. Don’t leave money on the table – make sure to take advantage of the tax credits that you qualify for.

Contribute More to Your Retirement Savings Accounts and Health Savings Accounts

Contributing more to your retirement savings accounts and health savings accounts can offer significant tax benefits and potentially increase your refund on each year’s individual tax return.

One option is to contribute more to your retirement savings accounts, such as a traditional 401(k), 403(b), or other employer-sponsored plans. By doing so, you can lower your taxable income since contributions are made on a pre-tax basis. This means that the amount you contribute is deducted from your overall income, resulting in a reduced tax liability and potentially a larger tax refund.

Another avenue to consider is contributing to a traditional Individual Retirement Account (IRA). Similar to employer-sponsored plans, contributions to a traditional IRA are tax-deductible, potentially lowering your taxable income and increasing your tax refund.

Additionally, contributing to a health savings account (HSA) also offers tax benefits. HSAs are available to individuals with a high-deductible health plan, and contributions made to an HSA are tax-free. Moreover, the earnings in an HSA grow tax-free, and withdrawals are tax-free if used for qualified medical expenses. By maximizing your contributions to an HSA, you can lower your taxable income on your individual tax return.

Hire a Tax Preparer to Research and File Your Federal Returns

Accurate returns mean getting the biggest refund check. When it comes to doing more than an average tax refund, hiring a tax professional is crucial. These experts have extensive knowledge of the U.S. Tax Code and can research and file your federal returns with precision. They are well-versed in finding all available credits and deductions, ensuring that you don’t miss out on any money-saving opportunities.

A tax expert can also help you make informed decisions regarding your filing status and dependents. They understand the nuances and requirements of each category, guiding you towards the one that will result in the largest refund or lowest tax liability. They know how to make sure everything gets finished in time for your tax filing deadline. 

What sets tax professionals apart is their expertise in handling complex tax situations. Whether you have investment income, side businesses, or inherited money, a tax expert can navigate these factors and ensure your tax return is accurate and compliant.

Don’t let the stress of filing your own taxes consume you. Hire a tax expert to research and file your federal returns, and enjoy peace of mind knowing that your taxes are in capable hands. Let them handle the complexities of the U.S. Tax Code while you reap the benefits of a maximized tax refund.

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