Last minute tax filing tips from GGC expert

Dr. Benjamin W. Akins
Benjamin Akins, JD, LLM

The date April 15 can mean many things – a birthday or an anniversary – but for most Americans, it’s Tax Day. With the deadline a week away, Georgia Gwinnett College’s associate professor of legal studies and taxation, Benjamin Akins, JD, LLM, offers some tips and dispels one myth when it comes to filing your taxes.

“Not everyone is required to file a tax return, but they should consider it anyway,” said Akins. “They could be eligible for certain tax credits, but the only way to get them is to file. You don’t want to leave money on the table.”

Many people may not be aware that there’s still time to contribute to their traditional or Roth IRA accounts (Individual Retirement Accounts). These are tax-favored investment accounts that can grow and be withdrawn tax-free after the age of 59 ½.

“Up until April 15, you can contribute to your 2023 IRA account up to $6,500 or $7,500, depending on your age,” he added.

Additionally, anyone can file for an extension to October 15.

“That doesn’t mean you get an extension to pay,” Akins said. “The IRS can assess penalties and interest.”

Akins added that one myth about refunds continues to this day.

“What you get back has nothing to do with what you actually owe the Government,” he said. “For those working for someone, it has to do with their withholdings. Each year, I know many people will adjust their withholdings so that they don’t end up owing money or getting a refund. This is harder to do when you work for yourself or your job status changes during the year.”

Refunds may sound like a good thing, but they’re not, said Akins.

“People get that emotional high when they get a refund, but in truth, what you’ve done is given the government extra money for them to use free for a year before giving it back to you,” he said. “It’s better to keep your money with you and have it work for you.”

Ultimately, Akins said, the goal should be to neither owe nor get money back.

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