For most people, paying their taxes for 2016 is over and done with. But before you start breaking out the champagne in celebration, you should know that there are things you can do now that will help you prepare for next year’s tax season. Here are five steps from tax preparation professional John S. Curtin, CPA Chartered that may have a positive affect on your 2017 individual income tax returns:

  1. Find your refund balance – Getting a big refund check is fun, but it could mean that you’re letting the government take too much out of your paychecks. Or perhaps you’re in the opposite situation and had to pay the IRS. If you find yourself in either of these positions, you should contact a tax preparation professional to figure out ways to change your withholding so you’ll come closer to breaking even.
  2. Take that leap to increase your income – Nothing will motivate you to increase your income like taking a look at your individual tax returns. Want to earn more? Don’t just daydream about finding new opportunities. Go out there and get them! Ask for a promotion or raise, or look for a higher paying job at a new company.
  3. Deal with your student debt, health savings account, and retirement fund – First things first: Pay off that student loan ASAP. Then start putting money into your health savings account and retirement fund. Many people choose to tackle these accounts one at a time for greater success. However, you should always consult with a tax professional or CPA to get the best advice for your individual situation.
  4. Give back – When you give to charities, the government will give you a tax break in return. Always make sure the organizations you donate to meet the IRS qualifications for tax deductions.
  5. Find ways to save without owing – Only use your emergency savings or your retirement account if you have no other options. In the meantime, look at other ways to put away more money. Talk to one of our professionals about the best way you can save money with out creating problems in the future.

Planning changes for your future taxes can sometimes feel overwhelming – but you don’t have to do it alone. John S. Curtin, CPA Chartered offers tax preparation for individuals that’s detailed and accurate. We give you quality customer service, too. Contact our Ellicott City, MD office today!