Getting the Most Out of Your Tax Return

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This year’s tax filing deadline is exactly six weeks away, April the 17th. With that, many people already have their tax refund checks at home or in their bank account.

You may already know how you’re going to spend your tax return money, but is it a smart plan?

If you find yourself with a surplus after paying your taxes from 2006, Financial Advisor Bill Hilgedick, says you should look into paying down some of your deficit with it.

"I suggest to people, from an investment standpoint, that you want to eliminate as much of that high-interest debt as possible,” Hilgedick said. “And that can be one of your best investments actually."

Hilgedick says it’s also smart to put your tax return money towards savings, or long-term investments.

"Sometimes we find that people don't have enough money set aside for what-ifs and surprises and this is kind of a good source to use for that."

But Hilgedick says you shouldn’t limit yourself to just one option. He says you’ve got to be open to the idea of spreading your return money around.

"Maybe pay a big chunk towards debt, and maybe a little bit for a dinner out or something and maybe a little bit towards some long-term savings,” Hilgedick said. “It's a great idea."

The I.R.S. is now making it easier for you to split-up your return money between different accounts. All you have to do is fill out what is called the 8888 form to have specific amounts put in up to three different checking or savings accounts.

Regardless of how you decide to divvy up your return money, Hilgedick says you shouldn’t shy away from using some of it to treat yourself.

"Use it to pay for that vacation you may be planning on, or use it for some type of splurge for yourself."

Remember, this year your taxes are due on April 17th, rather than the traditional April 15th deadline.

The State Revenue Department has extended the deadline because the 15th falls on a Sunday, and the 16th is a federal holiday.