What to Know Before Filing Your Taxes

tax refund loan

  • Feb. 28, 2024
tax refund loan

You might be looking forward to how you will utilize your tax refund loan. But first, you must file your taxes. Tax season can be a daunting time for many, especially for those looking to maximize their refunds or minimize their tax liabilities. The thought of gathering receipts, crunching numbers, and navigating complex forms can be overwhelming. However, understanding what to consider before filing taxes is essential for efficiency.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through each crucial step to ensure your tax-filing process goes smoothly. Whether you're aiming to increase your refund, reduce your tax liability, or both, it's important to be well-prepared. From gathering necessary documents to exploring available deductions and credits, we'll cover everything you need to know to navigate tax season successfully. 

Additionally, if you're considering a tax refund loan to access funds more quickly, we'll discuss the implications and considerations involved in that decision-making process. Stay tuned for expert tips and insights to help you make the most of tax season and achieve your financial goals.

Gather All Necessary Documents

The foundation of accurate tax filing is having all your ducks in a row. This means collecting a variety of forms and records that showcase your financial picture for the year. 

The Basic

You will need key documents such as your W-2 if you’re an employee, 1099s for any independent contractor work, and 1098s showing mortgage interest. Investment documentation is also important—be sure to have your 1099-INT for interest income and 1099-DIV for dividends, among others. Don’t forget statements for college tuition, and for those who are filing a Schedule E for rental income, make sure to include all relevant records.

Be Diligent

Keeping track of these throughout the year can alleviate much of the stress during tax time. Use digital storage solutions to safely store scanned copies of documents and pair it with a rigorous file-naming and organizing system.

Understand Your Filing Status

Your tax filing status is more than a mere checkbox; it's a significant factor that determines your standard deduction, tax rate, and eligibility for other tax breaks.

The Right Fit

The five primary filing statuses are Single, Married Filing Jointly, Married Filing Separately, Head of Household, and Qualifying Widow(er) with Dependent Child. Understanding which one applies to you is crucial. It may be tempting to select whichever status appears favorable, but the wrong designation can lead to complications down the line.

Considering Complexities

For those with more complex family arrangements, such as a divorced or widowed parent, be sure to determine the most accurate and beneficial status through the IRS guidelines.

Know the Tax Deadlines

Procrastination is the arch-nemesis of tax preparation. The IRS tax filing deadline is typically April 15th, but there are exceptions, such as weekends or holidays, extending the due date to the next business day.

Don’t Get Penalties

Late filing can result in hefty penalties and lower your tax refund loan, so it's best to mark your calendar early and make a plan to meet that deadline. If you feel crunch time arriving, consider filing for an extension, but remember, an extension to file is not an extension to pay if you owe taxes.

Be Aware of Deductions and Credits

One of the primary motivations for diligent tax documentation is the pursuit of various deductions and credits that can reduce your taxable income or tax bill directly.

Explore Your Options

Many deductions and credits are available, such as educational credits for students, retirement savings contributions, or healthcare expenses not covered by insurance. Staying informed on what's available and qualifying may significantly impact your tax refund or the amount you owe.

The Benefit of the Standard Deduction

For many individuals, the standard deduction may be the best choice. However, those with higher-than-average expenses, such as mortgage interest or large charitable donations, should weigh the benefits of itemizing deductions.

Consider Your Tax Withholding

Tax withholding from your paycheck is not only for covering your tax bill but also for managing your cash flows. The more money you have withheld over the year, the more you will receive from your tax refund loan.

Strike a Balance

With proper withholding, you won’t be taking on excess taxes throughout the year, but you also won’t be caught off guard with a significant tax balance due. Use the IRS Tax Withholding Estimator or consult with a tax professional to ensure your W-4 is appropriately claimed.

Make Adjustments as Necessary

Factors such as a job change, marriage, or a new child can significantly impact your tax situation. It’s wise to review and adjust your withholding annually or as life events dictate to avoid surprises at tax time.

Be Mindful of Tax Law Changes

Tax laws don’t stand still, and what was true last year may not be the case for the current tax year.

Stay Informed

For example, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 made sweeping changes to deductions, credits, and tax brackets for individuals and businesses. Keeping up with these changes ensures you’re taking advantage of what's available to you.

Explore Filing Options

Gone are the days when you have to wrangle with tax forms all on your own. Modern filing offers a variety of options, each with its own set of benefits.

The DIY Route

Filing your taxes independently can save money, especially with a variety of free filing software options. Be wary, though, as self-prepared tax returns are more prone to errors.

Seeking Professional Help

Hiring a tax preparer may be the smart move for more complex situations or for those who prefer the guidance of a professional. Tax professionals can also offer valuable advice on financial planning for future tax years.

No Cost Options

If you meet certain income thresholds, you may qualify for free filing assistance from Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) or Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) programs.

Plan for Potential Tax Liabilities

Being prepared for the worst-case scenario is critical, especially if you’re self-employed or have additional income outside your primary job that doesn’t have taxes withheld.

Set Money Aside

Saving a portion of your earnings throughout the year can prevent a large, unexpected tax bill. A simple rule of thumb is to set aside 25-30% of your freelance or self-employment income for tax purposes. 

Keep Accurate Records

Good record-keeping is essential for both safeguarding yourself in the event of an audit and making the filing process easier. Think of it as an insurance policy for your peace of mind.

Document Everything

Any receipts, tax forms, or records related to income, deductions, and credits should be kept in a safe and organized location. Digital backups are also necessary to ensure you don’t lose critical records.

Review Your Tax Return Before Filing

Rushing through your tax return is a recipe for overlooking crucial details that could lead to errors or missed opportunities.


Ensure that all personal information is correct, that calculations are accurate, and that you’ve taken advantage of all eligible credits and deductions.

Professional Proofreading

If in doubt, having a fresh pair of eyes reviewing your return is always beneficial—whether that's a tax professional or a trusted associate. They may catch mistakes or provide new insights that can improve your tax position, so you get more money on your tax refund loan.

By following these steps and being proactive in your tax preparation, you can confidently approach the tax season. Taking the time to educate yourself on these essential factors can lead to a more financially beneficial outcome and a much less stressful experience overall.

RELATED: Things You Should Avoid Buying With Your Tax Refund Advance

Remember, taxes are a part of life but don’t need to be a source of dread. With preparation and awareness, you can turn what many see as a chore into an opportunity to take control of your finances and make the most of your tax situation. 

So, mark your calendar, stay informed, and don’t hesitate to seek help when needed. Riding the high of successfully filing your taxes on time can be quickly replaced with panic and dread as you realize next year's deadline is looming. However, by following these tips and staying ahead of potential issues, you can approach tax season confidently and potentially save time and money. So don't hesitate to explore your options, stay informed about tax law changes, seek help when needed, and plan ahead for potential tax liabilities. With these strategies in place, you can turn tax season from a daunting task into an opportunity to take control of your finances and maximize your savings. 

Tax Refund Loan At Check Cashing USA

At Check Cashing USA, we understand that waiting for your tax refund can be challenging, especially when you have immediate financial needs. That's why we offer tax refund loan services to provide you with quick access to the funds you're expecting. With our streamlined application process and fast approval times, you can receive your refund advance within a matter of days, helping you cover essential expenses or address unexpected emergencies without delay. 

Our friendly and knowledgeable staff members are here to guide you through the loan application process and answer any questions you may have, ensuring a hassle-free experience. Trust Check Cashing USA to help you bridge the gap between filing your taxes and receiving your refund, so you can enjoy peace of mind and financial stability when you need it most.

NEXT: Navigating Financial Waters: Avoiding Budgeting Pitfalls