UNITED STATES—Well, the time has come America, tax season has culminated and for those not receiving a refund, which may be more of us than expected, paying Uncle Sam is never fun, but what are you going to do? If you owe taxes, the biggest piece of advice I always give is prepare in advance. Even if you file an extension, you do not want to place yourself in a situation where the IRS comes knocking at your door or where you’re receiving letters in the mail noting a possible audit could be coming your way.

If you’re not a math expert or well versed in the world of taxes, have an expert take care of them for you. The last thing you want is to attempt to cheat the system or underestimate what is owed or what you should be getting back. There are so many tax credits out there that so many people have absolutely no idea about. At the same time, if you attempt in any fashion to lie on your taxes that is a FELONY people. Honesty is indeed the best policy. If you owe you owe, if you’re getting a refund, you’re getting a refund!

So for those that owe taxes, your key goal is to get those taxes filed before the deadline on Tuesday, April 18. If you’re not sure if you can make that happen, then you NEED to ensure you file an extension. This doesn’t mean you don’t have to pay what is owed; you don’t get a break on that people. However, filing that extension is crucial if you need a bit more time to get the paperwork organized. As a safety precaution for those independent contractors, it’s always wise to place money aside during the year especially if you’re not having taxes taken out of your check. Why? You’re prepared to have your taxes covered when tax season dawns upon us.

Now for those who are expecting a refund, what took you so long to file? Perhaps time got the best of you. Well if that is the case, that is completely understandable, however, you still want to get your taxes filed so you can retrieve that money from the government that is owed to you. So much money is left uncollected each year by American tax payers, don’t just let money that belongs in your pocket to sit on the table.

Once that check comes in the mail or is direct deposited into your bank account, you have some important decisions to make. Now, I’ve heard this before and I’m in complete agreeance with it: pay off debt. Rarely have I ever used the refund I got from filing my taxes to splurge. I mean I might buy something here and there, but that is the extent of things. Why? I do indeed live by the motto that I rather be broke and debt free than be loaded with money, but owe a ton of creditors.

I do believe we live in a society where so many people are concerned about not BEING broke, so much to the point that they will create more debt to ensure they have extra money at all times. Credit cards are the worse people, pay off those high interest credit cards ASAP, don’t delay because the interest alone will kill you and make it virtually impossible to knock the debt down to a rate where you feel as if you’re getting ahead.

Now instead of buying some fancy item, I would indeed utilize my surplus to take a vacation. A vacation is always a good thing in my opinion as it gives one the opportunity to relax, rejuvenate and put one’s self back into a positive light. Trust me I know negativity can eat away at you like a plague, so prevent the plague from spreading by getting away from it all to have a clear mind, a bit of serenity and peace.

Oh, and last tip, if you have a certified accountant or CPA doing your taxes, NEVER ever forget to get a copy of your taxes. I mean I hear so MANY people tell me they never got a copy of their taxes. That is never a good sign in my opinion. You should ALWAYS review those documents for accuracy and to ensure no funny business has taken place, don’t overlook this. It is vital!

So rather you’re getting a refund or paying the government, taxes are inescapable people, especially if you’re someone that has a job and you work on a consistent basis. If you’re not already versed in the dialogue of the tax world, it’s never too late to educate yourself on the do’s and don’ts when it comes to filing your taxes.