Local financial advisor offers tips to maximize tax returns


LANSING, Mich. (WILX) – If one thing in life is certain, everyone will need to file their taxes. Now is the time to prepare to get the best return possible.

For stylist Lanitra Middlebrook, tax time used to leave her in a panic.

“I didn’t know if I kept track of my books properly,” said Middlebrook. “Was I going to owe, even though I have children? What was it going to look like for me?”

Middlebrook now has her taxes prepared by Ebony Allen, owner of Total Financial Management. She said filing with a pro has its benefits.

“We as tax professionals have knowledge the average person doesn’t have. So, I suggest that you seek a tax professional so that you can ensure that your deductions and your credits are all applied to your tax return,” said Allen.

When meeting with a tax professional, having the correct documents could maximize your deductions. “We need your W2 if you again did anything with your retirement account; if you have any kids in school, I would need your tuition statement and your mortgage certificate.”

If you don’t have all of your documents yet, go online to get an estimate of what you could owe.

“Go to the IRS website and search the IRS calculator and run your last check stub through, and it will tell you where you’re at.”

Allen was able to balance Middlebrook’s books and get her finances back on track. That early preparation paid off. “Not waiting till the last minute because you tend to look over things, and you will possibly look over credits that could be important to you,” said Middlebrook.

Allen said when that April tax deadline approaches and you’re not ready to file, you can get an extension as late as October.

You can also file deductions for charitable donations and your home office if you work from home. Filing electronically will help you avoid any delays. But make sure to review your return for accuracy before signing and sending it in.

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