Feature from Town & Country Federal Credit Union:
Becoming financially self-supporting and responsible with money is an important part of sobriety and long-term recovery. And this time of year, when attention turns to taxes, it is a good opportunity to examine what financial responsibility means to you.
Developing positive behaviors around money, such as having regular income, putting aside savings, making good on past debts and being on-time with bill payments is an important part of becoming financially self-supporting. So, whether you have a refund coming or you owe the government some money, preparing and filing your 2023 federal and state taxes by the April 18th deadline is a great step forward.
Key Steps to Filing Taxes
If the thought of filing your taxes make you break out in a cold sweat, you are not alone. It doesn’t have to be complicated. The key is to take some time and get organized. Here are some easy steps:
1. Gather Your Tax Documents: You will need any W-2s, 1099s, mortgage interest statements, investment income statements and charitable contribution statements.
2. Choose Between the Standard Deduction or Itemizing: You will have two choices: take the standard deduction or itemize your deductions.
3. Pick a Filing Status: Your filing status helps determine what you’ll need to do to file, what your standard deduction is, eligibility for certain credits, and how much you’ll owe in taxes. Most people will either file as a single taxpayer or married filing jointly.
4. File Your Taxes: Once you have all your documents together, you’re ready to file your taxes. You can self-file using tax software or choose to hire a professional to help you prepare the tax forms and file electronically. You can also complete paper returns and mail them in.
Finding Help with Filing Taxes
If you’re not sure where to start or have questions about your taxes, reach out for help. There are many resources and tax filing services available. Whether it is a local CPA, online service or office of a tax preparer, there are people who can help. Depending on your household income and financial circumstances, you may qualify for free tax preparation and filing services such as:
IRS Free File lets taxpayers who made $73,000 or less in 2022 to file their taxes electronically for free using brand-name software provided by commercial tax filing companies.
Ca$h Maine is a statewide non-profit organization working to help Mainers achieve long term financial stability. Trained volunteers will help you prepare and file your taxes for free to maximize your refund.
AARP Foundation Tax-Aide program provides in-person and virtual tax assistance to anyone, free of charge, with a special focus on taxpayers who are over 50 or have low to moderate income.
Make the Most of Your Tax Refund
Take the time to think about how you can best use a tax refund to handle any unresolved financial amends, put towards short-term or long-term goals will help get your financial life on track. Here’s a few ways you may want to put your tax refund to good work:
- Pay off past-due debts, bills, or credit cards.
- Repay someone you owe money to.
- Start or add to your emergency fund.
- Put it towards something you are saving for.
- Treat yourself with something special on your sobriety anniversary.
What to Do If You Owe Taxes:
If you find you owe the IRS or State of Maine money, it never hurts to get a second opinion about your taxes from an expert. It is possible you missed a deduction, like medical expenses or charitable contribution. Consider filing an extension. You may also be able to establish a payment agreement or set up a payment plan.
For more information about improving your personal finances or other money related questions, call 1-800-649-3495 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.