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3 Ways Smart People Save Money When Filing Their Taxes


by Greg Garrison

We all love to celebrate that hidden deduction or tax credit we found. We want to tell anyone who will listen about how smart we are, right?

But there’s something else that many of us prefer to keep to ourselves.

(Psst! We could have easily saved more money when we filed, but we didn’t.)

Here are three simple ways to get max savings to go along with that max refund:

1. File As Early As Possible

Once you’ve received all your forms, it’s time to get filing. There are several reasons why you don’t want to wait to file your taxes.

First, many tax software providers raise their prices as you get closer to the April 15 filing deadline. So you’ll often get a cheaper price the earlier you file.

Second, if you’re missing any forms or if any forms contain errors, filing early will alert you to the issue while there is still plenty of time to fix it.

Finally, filing early can also help protect you from tax fraud. A common scheme involves a fraudster filing a tax return using your identity and then snagging your refund. However, that criminal can’t file a tax return under your name if you’ve already filed your returns. Simply put, filing early closes your window for risk.

2. Pick The Right Tax Software For You

Stop us if this sounds familiar: You start filing your taxes through an online tax software program for free. A half-hour later and suddenly you’ve been upgraded to a premium package, purchased a couple add-ons and you think you might have even signed up for an extended warranty and five years of oil changes, but you’re not sure.

Yep, there are three certainties in this world: Death, taxes, and the ol’ tax software bait-and-switch.

Every tax software program has its pros and cons, and those premium packages do offer useful features for some filers. But many tax filers don’t actually need all the bells and whistles they end up purchasing. It’s understandable why this happens, though. People are often unsure which software package will cover their tax situation, and to avoid potential problems they simply upgrade to a more expensive option.

The solution? Pick a tax software that covers any tax situation, and costs significantly less than those deluxe packages. One example is TaxSlayer Classic, which has built a reputation as the no-nonsense tax software program that gets the job done. For just $34.95, it covers all credits and deductions and all income types with no restrictions.

Starting in January, GOBankingRates readers can get an extra 25% off TaxSlayer Classic by using the promo code BANKING25.

3. Know When You Should Get Help From A Pro

Sometimes trying to save money can end up costing you money.

Even if you’ve always filed your taxes on your own, there may be new developments in your life that make it necessary to hire an accountant or spring for the personalized help from tax software providers.

Major life changes such as retiring, getting married, having a child or going back to school can add a new wrinkle to your taxes, and a tax pro may save you time and money in those scenarios. Plus, they’re likely to find you some deductions and credits you wouldn’t otherwise know about.

A tax expert can also be invaluable if you own a small business or you’re a sole proprietor.

Finally, perhaps you get halfway through preparing your taxes on your own and realize you’ve got more questions than answers. It can be reassuring to have an extra set of eyes on your return.

This is another area where TaxSlayer’s pricing tiers make things clear and simple. They let you choose your package based on how much help you need. So while TaxSlayer is known for its Classic product, they also have a Premium and Self-Employed version available that offers access to Tax Pros for when you need them. No matter what your tax filing situation, you are covered!