My husband and I have a great relationship with our tax dude. Every year we meet with him before the crush (i.e. when damn near everyone else shows up). Every year I bring pages and pages of Microsoft Excel spreadsheets listing every financial move my husband and I made during the previous year, complete with graphs and question marks. Every year my husband shows up at the last minute to sign the documents and pay the tab. Every year our tax dude offers me a job, citing my anal retentiveness when it comes to receipt hoarding.
But this year there was one surprising difference. Usually, as we sign and gladly pay the $300-400 bill, our tax dude cheerfully details when we can expect our tax refunds from federal and state tax collectors. This year, however, he said something close to this: Don't count on your North Carolina tax refund. We have no idea what the state's up to this year.
That was about six weeks ago.
The word now is the state is getting their proverbial shit together. It's not because they're looking out for you, though. Here's the deal: If the state doesn't cut your refund check by May 3, interest starts to accrue — interest they owe you. Since the state is already broke, you can bet state bean counters will do everything they can to avoid extra charges.
So know that if you haven't received your refund yet (we haven't) it is coming soon. No, really. They mean it this time.
In related news, tax day is Thursday. If you've done the calculations and found that you owe taxes this year don't despair. Sure, it sucks. But there are some things you can do to take the bite out of tax season.
First, don't file an extension unless you have to. All that does is delay the inevitable and prolong your anxiety. Plus, even if you file for an extension you are required to pay your taxes by April 15. The extension just gives you extra time to complete the paperwork.
Second, if you do owe the government this year, talk to your human resources department and make some adjustments to your withholdings. Ideally, you shouldn't have to pay anything at the end of the year — nor should you find you've overpaid. (I said "ideally.")
Also, if you owe the government, talk to the IRS about a payment plan. Not making arrangements won't make your tax burden go away, so make the call and set up a plan that works for your budget.
If you need help or have questions about your taxes, contact your local IRS office. Click here for a list of contact information.
Tax credits and deductions you may qualify for: