It is tax season is upon us. If you haven’t filed your return yet, be prepared for some late nights this weekend. Meanwhile, here are a few things you can do, starting now, that will make next year’s tax season easier.
Adjust your withholding. If you owed money when you did your taxes, make sure you adjust the amount of withholding from your income. Even if you received a large refund, check out your withholding. It’s better for you to have your money throughout the year than for the government to have it and then give it back to you at the end of the year.
Use the IRS website or any of the other withholding calculators available to adjust the amount the agency withholds from your paycheck.
Lower your taxes by every (legal) way. You have to pay taxes, but make sure that you only have to pay your fair share. There are many ways to legally lower the amount of tax that you owe. Take the time to research and understand what applies to you including deductions, exemptions and credits.
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Start preparing now for next year. Organize all the information throughout the year that you will need to file your taxes. For example, hold on to receipts to donations to non-profits.
Double check over your taxes. Be sure to check the spelling of your name, your Social Security number, and don’t forget to sign your returns. Simple mistakes on your return can increase the amount of time that it takes to get your refund, or even cause the IRS to review or audit you.
Download Turbo Tax checklist. This list will help you prepare for your next year taxes.
Tax Day deals
▪ Logan’s Roadhouse is offering a free appetizer with any entrée purchase. The coupon is good until April 24. http://bit.ly/1N6mon5
▪ Outback Steakhouse is offering a free Bloomin’ Onion on April, 18 when you mention Bloomin’ to your server. I recommend calling ahead to make sure your location is participating.
▪ Great American Cookie locations are giving away a free chocolate chip cookie on April, 18. Limit one per person
▪ Staples will let you shred five pounds of documents for free on April 18. You will need the coupon, which will be available in store. Call ahead to confirm.
▪ Schlotzsky’s is giving away a small sandwich for free when you buy a 32-ounce drink and chips on April 18.
▪ Sonic is offering 50 percent off cheeseburgers on April 18 at all Sonic locations. No coupon required.
▪ Red Robin is offering on April 19 a burger with a Ramen and bottomless fries for 22 cents if you are one of the first 22 students in the door with a valid student ID. Everyone else gets to enjoy a $2.22 discount. No coupon required.
▪ In addition to tax day, it’s also the first day of National Parks Week which allows you to get into any of the nation’s national parks for free. Be sure to check with the national park you’ll be visiting as many of them have special events this week. http://1.usa.gov/1MNao4o
▪ Through April 18 use the promo code TAXDAY when you purchase an online order at Noodles.com to get $4 off an order of $10 or more. Also, when you visit a Noodles & Company on April 18 and purchase a regular entree, your kids get a free meal.
▪ All youth soccer players are encouraged to wear their team uniform to any Chipotle on Saturday for a buy one, get one free burrito, bowl, salad, order of tacos or kid’s meal. Players must be 14 or younger and must be in soccer team uniform to redeem offer. Definition of “uniform” is at restaurant staff’s discretion. Limit one free entrée item per player.
Other deals, ways to save
▪ A free shredding day at Home Depot on Richmond Road will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on April 30 (or until truck is full).
▪ The free Friday down load digital coupon at Kroger on April 15 is for a Free Tostitos Dip-etizers (10 ounce, any variety). Redeem by May 1. Kroger.com
▪ The OLLI Chorus spring concert, with art and photography exhibit, takes place at 3 p.m., April 23 at Tates Creek Christian Church, 3150 Tates Creeok Road. The event is free.
▪ Through April 19, Tiny Prints is offering up to five free thank you cards when you use the promo code TEACHTHANKS at checkout. Plus, you’ll save 50 percent off additional thank you card notes. Economy shipping is just 99¢ (regularly $4.95) or shipping is free on orders of $49 or more with the code FREESHIP49 at checkout.
▪ Sign the kids up for Keeneland Kids Club for lots of opportunities of fun this spring. Kids Club Family Day is April 17. Kids Club members and their families will receive free general admission and access to reserved grandstand seating. Visit the North Terrace from noon to 3 p.m. for free children’s activities, including face painting and crafts. Sunrise Trackside takes place April 16 and 23 from 7-10 a.m. and the Derby Party for Kids takes place from 1-5 p.m. May 7. Keeneland.com/discover/kids-club
▪ Looking forward to seeing the new Captain America: Civil War movie? Buy five specially marked packages of Skittles or Starburst at Walgreens and collect the unique codes inside. Enter them at OriginalOrSour.com and receive a Fandango promotional code good toward one ticket for Captain America: Civil War. There is a limit of five movie tickets per person.
▪ Create a baby registry at Target.com using your email address and due date. Then, head to the guest service desk at your local Target. Let them know that you created a baby registry online and that you’d like your free welcome bag worth $70.15. Plus, you’ll get a 15 percent off coupon for anything on your registry.
▪ For a limited time, Shutterfly is offering unlimited free 4×4 or 4×6 photo prints whenever you order through the Shutterfly Mobile app on your iPhone, iPad or Android device. No promo code is needed. These prints will automatically be free at checkout when ordering on your mobile device. You will have to pay shipping.
▪ You can get a free $6 certificate to see any movie at participating theaters when you buy three packages of Eggo products (8.4 ounces and larger) through June 30. Send a picture of your entire receipt (including the retailer name, date and time) via text or email to firstname.lastname@example.org by July 15 to receive a reply message with a code and website for your $6 certificate code! www.eggomoviecash.com
▪ Upload a photo of yourself making the American Sign Language sign for butterfly, as your pledge to help the Monarch butterfly. After taking the pledge, you will receive a Butterfly Garden Starter Kit, while supplies last. http://www.nwf.org/Butterfly-Heroes/Pledge.aspx
▪ Downloaded the Whole Foods app to receive savings. This week one of the available coupons is for $5 off $20 of fresh fruits and vegetables. All you need to do is have the cashier scan the app barcode at checkout.
▪ Try Hippo Trash Sak for free. http://bit.ly/1YrOw4O
▪ Receive a free copy of your credit report and score, learn how to read it and receive guidance on improving your credit at Free Credit Report class, from 5-7 p.m., April 27 at the Beaumont Library, 1080 Fieldstone Way. Registration is recommended. 859-231-5500 ,Ext. 3.
▪ A free household hazardous waste collection will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., April 23 on 1631 Frankfort Pike. Enter via Jimmie Campbell Drive. Save time and complete the participant survey before you arrive. Visit www.lexingtonky.gov/hhwevent for the survey and a full list of what will be accepted.
Deborah Morris’ every-other-week column, The Fru-Gal, can help you get more for less. Go to her website, Fru-gal-friends.com.