Last-Minute Tax Season Tips for Making the Most of Your Tax Return

Make financial plans for the year ahead with tips from experts who can help make your tax season seamless.
Apr 1, 2024 11:00 AM ET
person doing taxes

Tax season isn’t just a time to gather all your necessary paperwork together in time for the filing deadline. It’s also a chance to review your financial wellness and make plans for the year ahead.

If you're expecting a tax refund, Chad Wolfe, our favorite money coach and student loan specialist at the My Secure Advantage financial coaching program, has offered some awesome tips to help you make the most of it.

“At tax time, optimizing your income tax withholding is key to keeping your finances on track,” says Chad. “By ensuring you're not overpaying or underpaying taxes throughout the year, you can better manage your cash flow and avoid any surprises come tax season. It's a strategic move that puts you in control of your money, allowing you to make the most of your hard-earned income.”

Maximizing your return is something Chad also commonly refers to as “stretching your dollar.” What if you could save a majority of your refund, stretch those bills and take advantage of some amazing deals? For instance, Metro by T-Mobile just unveiled a deal for new customers to get the iPhone 12 5G for just $99 — with no activation fee and no trade-in required when you switch, which comes out to $530 in savings. No-contract brands like Metro are a great option for people who are looking for a premium wireless experience free from credit checks, added taxes or fees, extra fees for 5G and surprises. Switching to Metro could help you save money and boost your financial independence.

Chad uses examples like this in coaching people to take more control and plan for the year ahead. More of his top tips for financial wellness include:

  • Build an emergency fund. If you don’t already have one, your tax refund can be a great way to start. It’s recommended to have three to six months of living expenses saved up for those unexpected financial emergencies, like a sudden job loss or a major medical expense.
  • Tackle high-interest debt. If you’re carrying credit card debt or a personal loan with sky-high interest rates, using your tax refund to pay it down can save you a ton of money in the long run. Plus, it’ll free up more cash in your monthly budget.
  • Max out IRA contributions. Your tax refund can go towards funding your IRA and help you save for retirement. And if you contribute to a traditional IRA, you may even get a tax deduction. For 2024, the limit for traditional and Roth IRAs are $7,000, and an additional $1,000 on catch up contributions that can be made by those ages 50 or older by the end of the calendar year.
  • Contribute to an HSA. If you have a high-deductible health plan, know that HSAs offer fantastic tax benefits, like tax-deductible contributions and tax-free withdrawals for qualified medical expenses. It’s a smart way to save for healthcare costs while enjoying some tax perks.

Remember, there's no one-size-fits-all approach. You can mix and match these strategies to fit your unique situation. Don’t hesitate to reach out to a money coach or a tax professional for personalized advice. Now go make the most of that tax refund! And get even more last minute tax season tips on how to avoid scammers looking to take advantage HERE.