Smartest ways to spend your tax refund - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Smartest ways to spend your tax refund

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

There's plenty of time before the April deadline, but we're well into tax season and there are a couple of things to know before tackling your taxes this year

On the "to do list" includes how to spend your refund check once it arrives. 

READ MORE | Tax Season is here!

Donna Franklin has run her business on Dodds Avenue for nearly two decades. That's why customers like Lisa Bennett keep coming back.

"Because a lot of the work I do is independent contractor, which means i pay my own taxes, so i don't have to worry about it. I put it in her hands and I've never had a problem," Lisa Bennett of Chattanooga said.

As Bennett waited to hear how large her refund would be, she had some plans for how to spend the money.

"Maybe a little trip and then the rest goes into savings," Bennett said.

That made the list of some of the smart ways to spend your tax refund.

A list by U.S. News and World Report has some other options including starting an emergency fund, paying off debt, putting some money away in a savings account and saving for any upcoming expenses.

Other suggestions for your tax refund money include repairing something in your home, paying it forward, retirement, your child's college education, and traveling.

Franklin has another piece of advice.

"I always say if it's possible you should at least save a portion of it and try to use it over monthly periods of time instead of all at one time," Donna Franklin of Freedom Tax and Accounting Service.

Despite there being temptation to spend the money immediately, Bennett agrees there has to be a balance in case of a rainy day.

"Because you never know what tomorrow is gonna bring. Better safe than sorry any day," Bennett said.

There are some ways to cut down on your tax bill.

Franklin said there are a few tax credits that people sometimes overlook. They include the education, energy saving, and earned income tax credits.

If someone qualifies for all three, Franklin said they could save thousands of dollars in taxes.

She explains why people sometimes miss out on these tax breaks particularly the earned income credit.

"Most people think it's only for children and they don't realize that it is available for persons that are taking care of a disabled person," Franklin said.

If you earned income in the last few years, but you didn't file a tax return because your income fell below the filing requirement the IRS may have money for you.

The IRS also has millions of dollars in checks that are returned each year. You have three years to collect those funds.

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