It’s the time of year when stress levels are guaranteed to rise and everyone starts seeing dollar signs; it’s tax season.
The one silver lining of calculating the money you have to give up is the money you stand to get back in the form of a tax refund.
An issue students often face is whether they are even required to file a tax return, let alone if they are going to be getting a tax refund.
“There are so many variables; it’s a function of how much money you make, what kind of deductions and withholding allowances you have and whether you are a dependent or not,” said financial accounting and business mathematics professor Joel Glassman.
Determining whether or not to file can be confusing to those who haven’t worked for very long.
“This is my first time filing, I’m kind of nervous about it,” Palomar student Breanna Devecchio said. “Last year I didn’t make enough to file. I’ve never had to worry about it until now, and I’m kind of freaking out about whether I’m going to do it correctly or get any money back at all.”
One way to see if you need to file and to ensure you are filing correctly is to hire a tax expert.
“I went to H&R Block,” student Jorge Cortes said. “They do everything for you. It makes taxes so much less stressful; especially if you’ve never done them before.”
Glassman also suggest trying out one of the several software programs that are out there to help you file taxes, such as TurboTax or H&R Block.
After the filing process, if you are entitled to get a tax refund, the real question is what to do with it once it’s in your hands.
Some students are deciding to have a little fun with their money; while others are deciding to put it toward something they need, or even saving for the future.
“I’m going to Paris this summer, so if I get any money back it will probably all go to that, or in my gas tank,” Devecchio said. “But if you want to be smart with your refund start a bank account, it’s something that can gain interest if you leave it alone for a while.”
Another student suggested using the refund to pay bills.
“Put the money towards something you need, like insurance or fixing and maintaining your car,” Cortes said. “People should put the money aside and save it for emergencies.”
The experts agree that the wisest move is saving the tax refund.
“As much as students probably don’t want to hear it, they should save their money,” Professor Glassman said. “I know it is the last thing college students are thinking of, but the moral of the story is” start saving money early— start saving as soon as you can. Compound interest is your best friend.”