Wednesday, January 06, 2010

7 Easy Steps to an Early Tax Refund

As you know, I am a champion for ending your “refund addiction”. By that, I mean, adjust your withholdings so that you don’t receive a fat check in April or May, but rather get the money spread throughout the year. Remember, getting a refund should be a reminder that you have been loaning the government money interest-free throughout the year.

That being said, if you are – or anticipate – being due a refund, the sooner you do finish preparing your return, the sooner you will get it. Additionally, by filing early you can sit back and relax while most of Americans are rushing to beat the tax deadline. MSN Money shared 7 helpful tips for getting an early refund, while still being accurate. You can check out a snippet of the blog entry below.

So, if you want to get your 2009 taxes in early and get your refund quickly, here are Schnepper's Seven Strategies to getting those dollars in your pockets ASAP. Here's what you have to do:

1. Get started

The first step is the hardest. Stop thinking about it and get moving. Until you actually start your return, you'll never finish it. That's probably going to slow down your refund.

If you don't have all your numbers, just put your name and address on the form. It will get you in the mind-set to move forward.

Your first step is to break the inertia. As my father used to say, a trip of a thousand miles begins with a traffic jam! Break that jam and get moving.

2. Accumulate the data

January is collection month. By the second week of February in 2010, you should have the numbers in hand. Make sure you've gotten W-2s and any statements from your brokers and banks. You'll receive 1099 forms for any interest, dividends and stock sales.

Your mortgage company will send you a Form 1098 for any interest and real-estate taxes paid. Get those statements together and review the numbers. They're not always right. They won't include any interest you paid the very end of December because the creditor won't have received the money until 2010.

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