“The most important investment you can make is in yourself.” — Warren Buffett
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SAVE: File away. Tax season starts today.
Ready or not, here comes tax season. The IRS is now up and running to accept your 2018 returns. Word on the street is that refunds will go out as expected, but tax pros say you have to be extra careful this year. Why? The tax rules and forms have changed. Over the coming weeks, we’ll let you know what those rules are and how they could affect you and your refund.
To get started on the right foot: Keep an eye out for key documents about your wages and investment income like interest and dividends. You might already have some of these documents, and the rest should be headed your way.
Start pulling together receipts and other paperwork you’ll need from any big purchases or expenses you might have made in 2018. That way, you’re ready to file ASAP which puts you in a better position to get your refund fast.
“If you get it in early, you’re earlier in the chain when they start processing refunds,” says Tim Gagnon, an associate professor of accounting at Northeastern University.
“If you get it in early, you’re earlier in the chain when they start processing refunds.” - Tim Gagnon, associate professor of accounting, Northeastern University
Even at the doctor’s office, prices aren’t set in stone. Carolyn McClanahan—who is both a CFP and a medical doctor—recently the importance of asking your doctor’s office two simple questions before you pay for a medical device like a brace or a splint: What’s the cash price? And what would I pay under my insurance?
Let’s run the numbers on the price of McClanahan’s splint: She discovered that her insurance company would bill her $76 out of pocket. Her doctor would charge only $28. Or, she could just order it online and wait to have it delivered for $18. That savings of $48 to $58 is a nice payoff for minimal effort.
Asking those questions can be valuable at the pharmacy, too. Just keep in mind that if you choose to pay the cash price for something instead of using your insurance, it won’t apply toward your deductible.