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Top 4 Tips to Make Your Tax Refund Work for You!

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Apr 4, 2017
by Kevin Dow

If you had to name your favorite times of the year, I'm guessing tax season wouldn't make the cut.

It's not hard to see why. Tax season can be complicated, expensive and time-consuming, especially for families living paycheck-to-paycheck.

But filing taxes doesn't have to be a burden for working adults. Enjoy the upside of tax season - often a tax refund - by making sure you put that refund to work for you! Not sure where to start? Here are our top tips for smart ways to spend your refund:

    1. Pay down debt. Don't let it accumulate: before you're in over your head, use your refund to make your credit card debt a priority.
    2. Contribute to your retirement account. It's never too early to start planning for your future. Keep your options open and contribute to your retirement account. Haven't started one yet? Open a retirement account with your refund!
    3. Create an emergency fund. Set aside your refund in a separate account to mitigate any unforeseen costs that could shock you (and your wallet), like a chipped tooth or a car repair.
    4. Start a savings fund for your child. Programs like Children's Savings Accounts (CSAs) that are simple and affordable often do much more than help pay for a college education; they encourage children to pursue education and help families build financial stability.

To help you maximize your refund, United Way's Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA) provides fast, free and confidential tax preparation services. In fact, last year, VITA volunteers filed more than 29,000 tax returns across our region, returning more than $41 million to local communities. Nearly 40 tax sites are open until tax day. Learn more!

At United Way, we're committed to promoting self-reliant, stable families. Whether that means helping community members get the job skills training they need or getting working adults their full tax refund to boost family budgets, we know that stable, self-reliant families are the foundation of strong communities.