Utter the word “taxes” and you’ll get a shudder from most Americans across the country.
While the filing deadline for personal income taxes may not be until April 15th, both financial experts and your average Joe will tell you that this is one area where procrastination should be avoided at all costs.
For Latinos, who are not always known for their punctuality, now is when they should be getting their financial affairs in order, experts say.
“The first thing Latinos should not do is wait until the last minute to file their taxes,” financial expert Mike Periu told Fox News Latino.
“Refunds come on a first come, first serve basis.”
The longer you wait to file, the harder it can be to anticipate potential problems, he said.
“If you have a problem or you don’t have all the documents you need, you may not have time to get all the necessary paperwork in order,” adds Periu.
The next step Latinos should take is evaluating if they really need to pay a tax preparer.
Latinos have a long history of going to their local preparer, or notaries, for help. But Periu points out that this tradition could be a waste of money. Latinos, he said, assume they have to shell out hundreds to a tax preparer to get their taxes done.
“In reality, most Latinos have a very easy tax return,” he said.
By doing your taxes on your own with the use of software programs like Turbo Tax or Tax Act, it is possible to save at least $150.
If you decide that you’d rather let a tax preparer handle all the dirty work for you after all, make sure they are registered with the IRS to prepare tax returns on behalf of other individuals.
A common mistake many Latinos make is not filling out a tax return because they think they're income is too low.
However, according to Periu, “even if you make a very low income you can qualify for tax credits that are refundable.”
Regardless on if you decide to do your taxes yourself or enlist the help of someone else, it is all about paying attention to detail.
“What happens with Latino families is that sometimes the classification they select isn’t the correct one for their situation,” he said. “An innocent mistake can become a bigger issue.”