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Filing Tax Returns In February Could Mean Larger Refund

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - The dreaded April 15 tax deadline is two months away, but Duquesne University Tax Professor Dr. Bryan Menk says, don't wait to file your returns.

"If you are getting a refund, you should file right now," Menk told KDKA money editor Jon Delano on Thursday. "You should get that money back as soon as possible because otherwise you're letting the government hold your money interest-free."

Figuring out how to save money when it comes to taxes is complicated.

You could read all 4,132 pages of the Internal Revenue Code, but it's more likely you're going to take some tips from others.

IRS data confirms that taxpayers who file in February get larger refunds -- around $400 more on average.

It's not that doing your taxes earlier makes you eligible for a bigger refund.

"By doing them early, there's probably a better chance that you will catch every benefit you should have," says Menk.

And the tax professor says there are some changes in tax law to keep an eye on.

"If you did not have health insurance in previous years, you had to pay a penalty. This year that penalty has been removed."

So unlike last year, no penalty for not having health insurance.

Another change that may mean lower taxes for some are some adjusted tax brackets and a slightly higher standard deduction.

"So it does impact you, but it's not that big of a change."

Another important reminder -- interest on popular home equity loans can only be deducted if the money is used for home repairs, not vacations or paying off credit card debt.

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