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When I spoke to Bob Meighan, TurboTax’s Vice President and CPA, in November we spoke about how couples can optimize their tax filings.

One interesting point Bob shared was that the average refund last year was around $2,700. For many families, that's a big enough amount that they can make some progress on their family's financial goals.

Checking Your Tax Refund Status

Though most of the time your tax rebate comes according to schedule, if you haven’t received your tax return when you expected, just go to the IRS’ site and enter your information.

If you prefer to speak to someone on the phone, the number is 1-(800) 829-1040.

If you have a smart phone, there's actually an app called IRS2Go to help you check the status of your tax rebate. the great news is that the app is free. The app also allows you to sign up to receive tax tips from the IRS to your inbox.

Put Your Tax Refund to Good Use

No matter how big or small your refund is there are several ways you can use it to put your family's finances to good use.

  • Start or build your emergency fund. Based the amount on your family’s personal savings needs. Even if it’s a starter emergency fund, it’s a cushion for you in case something happens like a car breaking down. For your emergency funds please keep it in a high interest savings account where it’s possible to access it in emergencies without being tempted to spend it.
  • Pay down your debt. If you have an emergency fund ready to go, then look at putting your tax refund towards paying down your debt. Paying down your debt can improve yourmonthly cash flow.
  • Open or contribute to your IRA. If you have $1,000 or less you can open an IRA. The advantage of starting now rather than later is the benefit of compound interest.
  • Donate to a worthy cause.

Planning Your Taxes

Every year sitting down and looking at your current withholding status for just 10 minutes can be extremely helpful.

Tax Rebates and You

If you're looking for more on tax rebates, check out my post on TurboTax's blog. I’m a contributing blogger there along with some other personal finance writers and Intuit's team of savvy tax experts. 

If you got a tax rebate last year, how did you use it? What are plans for this year?

Photo Credit: 401K

About Elle Martinez

Elle Martinez helps families at Couple Money achieve financial freedom by sharing tips for reducing debt, increase income, and building net worth. Learn how to live on one income and have fun with the second..

3 comments add your comment

  1. That’s interesting because I saw an H&R Block commercial stating that the average refund was $3,000. I really don’t know which is more accurate, but it’s funny to me how much different the estimates are.

    I usually don’t get much back since I adjust my W-4 to get it throughout the year. What I do get normally just goes towards bills or whatever else needs taking care of. This year, I will be getting a little more back due to an oversight on my part, but that will be put towards a new media company I am starting to handle the websites I plan on putting up throughout the year