Tax time is just around the corner, and here are steps you can take now to boost your tax refund when you file after the first of the year.

  • Itemize your deductions. The standard deduction is $12,400, but itemizing might be worth it if you are a homeowner with a sizeable mortgage, gave money and “stuff” to charity, or paid points when you took out your mortgage.
  • Claim education expenses. If you are paying college expenses for yourself, your spouse or a child, two education credits can help defray those costs, the American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC) and the Lifetime Learning Credit (LLC).
  • Claim credit for your “full house”. If your adult children, their significant others and friends have come to live with you, you may be eligible to claim a $500 tax credit for non-child dependents you support if their income is less than $4,300.
  • Contribute to tax-deductible retirement accounts. This is a way to save for your future and boost your tax refund. If your income is under $65,000, you may qualify for a Saver’s Tax Credit as well.
  • Deduct worthless investments. If you have any investment that went belly-up, sell it before the end of the year and claim a tax loss.
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