Smart Money Moves to Start the Year on the Right Foot

Laveta Brigham

By Liz Weston After the train wreck that was 2020, you may well question whether it’s worth trying to plan anything. But knocking off a few financial tasks early in the year can better prepare you for whatever 2021 has in store. Table of Contents File Your Tax Return ASAPCheck […]

By Liz Weston

After the train wreck that was 2020, you may well question whether it’s worth trying to plan anything. But knocking off a few financial tasks early in the year can better prepare you for whatever 2021 has in store.

File Your Tax Return ASAP

Filing your tax return early typically means getting your refund sooner. Not only that, it could thwart refund-stealing identity thieves. Also, If you were owed a stimulus check in 2020 but didn’t get one, or should have gotten more, you can claim the missing money on your return.

    >> Plus, from Robert Powell’s Retirement Daily on TheStreet: How Can I Lower My Taxable Income?

If you owe the IRS, it’s better to know sooner rather than later. You’ll have more time to find the money or arrange a payment plan.

Also, unemployment checks are generally taxable. Many people who received last year’s extended jobless benefits may face a larger-than-expected tax bill this year, tax experts say.

Check Your Withholding

Once your 2020 tax return is prepared, you can use that and your first pay stub from 2021 to see if you’re on track with tax withholding. A good tax withholding calculator can help you determine how to adjust the amounts taken from each paycheck. Then, contact your employer if you need to make changes.

If you’re self-employed, you may need to make estimated quarterly payments. You could consult a tax professional to find out how much those should be.

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