6 Essential Steps to Take After You File Your Tax Return 

6 things to do after you file your taxes

Sometimes, the best part of filing your taxes is just being done with it. But there are just a few more things to do once your return is complete. Take a quick run through this list of steps to take after you file. It could save you time and effort later – and might even save you money on your taxes next year.   

1. Check your return status

Once you submit your income tax return, the IRS notifies TaxSlayer about the status of your account. Within about 15 minutes of filing, you’ll receive an email from TaxSlayer letting you know if your return was accepted or rejected. There is also an account status on the My Account dashboard that allows you to verify the status on your own.   

2. Correct errors if your return was rejected

If your return is rejected, there could be a simple explanation: 

  • The Social Security number on your return does not match the IRS record. Your last name must also match. This is especially important for taxpayers who were newly married during the tax year.   
  • The birth date you listed does not match what the IRS has on file. 
  • Your PIN was entered incorrectly.  
  • You entered the wrong amount of adjusted gross income from the previous year 

If your return is rejected, simply correct your mistake and resubmit. You don’t need to file an amendment in that case. If you realize you made a mistake, but your return was accepted, you should file an amended return. Read more about filing an amendment here.   

3. Pay your tax bill (if you have one)

The truth is, not everyone gets a refund at tax time. Owing taxes is not a bad thing. Depending on how much you had withheld from your paycheck for federal and state income taxes, you might owe the IRS money when you file your tax return. The same is true if you are self-employed and required to pay quarterly estimated taxes.   

4. Check your IRS refund status

You can check the status of your refund within 24 hours once the IRS accepts your return. The best way to learn your refund status is by using the “Where’s My Refund?” tool at IRS.gov. To use the “Where’s My Refund” tool, you ‘ll need your Social Security Number, filing status and exact refund amount shown on your tax return. 

Your account status will be in one of three stages: Return Received, Refund Approved and Refund Sent. If your status is Refund Approved, you should see the date when your refund is scheduled to be sent to your bank. The IRS only updates the site once every 24 hours, so it’s not worth checking multiple times a day. If you filed a paper return, you’ll have to be more patient. Allow 4 weeks before checking on the status. 

5. Make a file for your records

The IRS has up to three years to verify that all the information on your return was correct. If you get audited, they will want to see documents like receipts, bills, canceled checks, tickets, loan agreements, and employment documents. You’ll need all of these when you complete your return. Keeping them together in a clearly labeled file will make your life easier if the IRS requests to see them. 

6. Save or spend your refund wisely

Taxpayers tend to be divided over how to spend a tax refund. Some people view their refund as a yearly bonus to use for fun. For others, paying down debt and contributing to a savings account could be a great way to use the money. Certainly, treating yourself is no bad plan. But there are also some tax-advantaged ways to invest your refund that could mean more money in your pocket when you file again next year, like making home improvements, clean energy investments, and saving for retirement or college. Read also: 6 Ways to Use Your Tax Refund Wisely

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