(NewsNation) — Tax Day is April 18. Are you ready?
As of April 1, the IRS has processed more than 89 million returns and issued more than 63 million refunds, worth a collective $204 billion.
The average refund is worth just over $3,300, much larger than last year’s average of about $2,800.
Last year, Ladder Up prepared more than 6,000 tax returns and secured more than $14 million in refunds for hardworking families and individuals.
Ladder Up executive director Phyllis Cavallone-Jurek shares tips and tricks on how you can prepare for a successful tax season.
- Stay organized
- Keep your receipts
- Go through your savings account, monthly credit card history
- Create a folder system to track your finances
- examples: store receipts in your car, or next to your computer
- Look at your options on IRS.gov before you pay a tax preparer
- You might qualify for free tax services
“You can never have too many receipts. Keep receipts. It’s better to come to your tax preparer with too many receipts, and too much documentation, than not enough,” Cavallone-Jurek said Monday night during an appearance on NewsNation’s “Banfield.”
March’s Consumer Price Index report, which will be released Tuesday morning, measures just how bad inflation is.
In February, consumer prices were up 7.9% from the year before, and experts think the March report will be even uglier, with prices up as much as 8.5%.
The Federal Reserve is expected to deliver two back-to-back half-point interest rate hikes in May and June to tackle runaway inflation, according to economists polled by Reuters, who also say the probability of a recession next year is 40%.
They hope that will be enough to “cool off the economy” by encouraging people to save their money and hopefully bring prices down.
However, it will also make it more difficult for Americans to take a step up the financial ladder. Higher interest rates mean higher mortgages, car loans, and credit card rates.
Last year, a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was under 3%, and now, it’s above 5%.
The price of a home is up 32% over the past two years. Buyers didn’t feel the pinch when mortgage rates were low during the pandemic.
“I think we are headed for high inflationary times. I do not think that housing prices are gonna come down any time soon, and I think that mortgage rates are just gonna be on the rise,” HerMoney.com Chief Content Officer Kathryn Tuggle said Monday night during an appearance on “Banfield.”
Tuggle said the most important thing we can do right now is to stay calm: “Live as if we are in a recession before we get to that recession.”
Personal finance expert George Kamel also offered insight on the matter.
“This strategy has been used in the past with success, so I am an optimist. I think this could definitely help with some things because when we raise these rates, we’re gonna see the demand go down, which could help with inflation.”
Kamel suggests paying off your credit card debt now.
“In my book, it’s always a good day to pay off your credit card debt. I am a big fan of becoming debt-free and staying debt-free. This is the time to do it, absolutely, because we’re feeling the pinch. When you’re living paycheck to paycheck, which 78% of Americans are, it’s because of things like consumer debt,” Kamel added.