4 tax acts of green for Earth day

April 22, 2018 : Annelise Wiens

In April, going green with taxes usually means getting the maximum refund, but on Earth day, it means a little more: doing taxes in a more environmentally friendly way. And these acts of green can be done all year long, just like year-round tax planning.

1. Refuse paper records and go digital with MyBlock

Keeping good records is an important part of overall tax and financial health. The IRS can audit returns for at least three years in most cases and sometimes even longer. But paper records aren’t necessary. The IRS will accept electronic records as long as they meet the requirements for hard copies.

With a free MyBlock account, taxpayers can upload and categorize their receipts and tax documents, access their tax returns and more.

2. Ditch paper records of expenses for the Stride Tax app

Anyone who is self-employed needs to track all their business expenses so they’re not paying more taxes than they have to. They could be tracking their mileage, rent, utilities, advertising, insurance and more.

With Stride Tax, they can track all their expenses in one app, eliminating the need for paper records. Stride Tax also integrates with H&R Block Self-Employed so it’s easy to paperlessly share those important records when it comes to tax time.

3. Efile instead of mailing a tax return

Virtually every taxpayer can efile, whether they do their taxes themselves or get the help of a tax professional. Efile is the way that the IRS has received tax returns electronically since 1986. It can be done with online or downloadable software or in a tax office.

Efiling not only reduces paper (and the fuel to move the return to the IRS processing centers around the country), but it also can speed up how quickly a taxpayer receives their refund.

4. Choose direct deposit for a refund instead of getting a paper check

On the other end of the tax event, it’s also better to have a refund direct deposited into a savings, checking or other account, like an IRA. It eliminates the paper check as well as reduces the fuel required to move the money from account A to account B.

Just like efiling, direct deposit is also faster.

TBD: The energy credit

In the past, there were tax benefits for going green, but those credits have mostly expired. But that doesn’t mean they won’t be available in the future. In fact, the 2017 energy credit for making heating and cooling upgrades to a home was dead until February 2018, after millions of people had already filed their 2017 tax returns. So, anyone making those kinds of upgrades to their homes should be tracking those expenses in case the credit resurrects again before next year’s tax deadline.

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Annelise Wiens

Former Editor and Producer

As the former newsroom editor, Annelise Wiens was interested in more than just tax and industry news, but the stories of H&R Block's 80,000 associates, their communities and H&R Block's world headquarters in Kansas City, Mo. Wiens joined H&R Block in 2014 from a public relations agency, where she worked with clients in the financial services industry. Before that, she worked as a communicator for a senior member of the United States House of Representatives. She graduated from Biola University in La Mirada, CA with a bachelor's degree in history.

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