April 15th marks the deadline for filing taxes. Unless filing for an extension, people all over the country are scrambling to put the final touches on their tax forms from 2018. We’ve rounded up the best ways to make the most of your tax refund, as well as the top tips for paying your tax bill.

Spending your refund

More often than not, the influx of cash from a tax refund is enough to make anyone fill their shopping carts with anticipation. However, months after cashing in their tax check, those same people are wishing for some extra income. We’ve compiled some of the best ways to make the most of your tax refund, without spending it all right away.

No matter the amount of your refund, you can use a portion (or all if you choose) of that money to pay towards looming debts. Credit card bills are a great place to start when divvying up your refund amount. If you have other forms of debt (hospital bills, student loans, car notes), consider paying a little extra on those as well.

Invest it! Using a specified amount of your return to invest is a great way to have your money working for you throughout the next year (or ten). Choose a safe form of investing and put that money away. Things will really start to add up if you continue investing from your tax refund each year.

If you don’t want your money tied down, consider adding it to your savings account for specific events or emergencies. You never know what the future holds and it may be nice to have set some of that money aside.

Lastly, keep a little bit out to treat yourself. Most financial advisors and accountants will recommend taking 10% of a large or unexpected amount of money to use frivolously, or however you choose. Take a short trip, buy something you’ve had your eye on for a while, or go out for a nice dinner. After all this financial planning, you’ve earned it.

 

Paying your tax bill

If you’re stuck owing the IRS money, try not to feel too down about it. Acorns once predicted over 30 million Americans will owe in taxes; while it’s easy to feel left behind with others cashing in checks, you’re not the only one arranging payments.

The IRS even puts out tips for paying your tax bill, and we’ve chosen our top 2. If you can pay your taxes in full right away, you can do so online. However, if the bill has left you counting pennies and dimes, there’s two options (as specified by the IRS official website).

  1. File for a payment plan. According to the site, “most people and some small businesses” qualify for a monthly payment plan. This way, you can avoid paying a large sum up front while still tackling the bill.
  2. If you can’t afford monthly payments of your original tax bill, you can also file for an Offer in Compromise. The IRS has put out a pre-qualifier tool for people considering this option. If you qualify, you’re able to compromise for a smaller amount to pay in. This is usually the case if you can prove you cannot pay your taxes in full, or if doing so will create financial turmoil or hardships.

 

It’s time to stop fearing tax time, and start celebrating it! By staying on top of your taxes year round, making the most of the refunds when you get them, and taking care of any outstanding bills promptly, there’s nothing to dread in the Spring months.