Ah, tax season. The time of year that can cause a bit of confusion and slight dizziness when it’s fully realized how much of a dent Uncle Sam has put into yearly earnings.

On the flip side, tax season is a time for those to quickly file and get a much needed financial boost to the pockets to pay rent, travel, put into savings or whatever the heart desires. But first thing’s first: go through the process of filing.

For those who may have not filed yet, the filing deadline for the 2015 tax year is Monday, April 18, 2016. This differs from the traditional filing date of April 15. Washington, D.C. now celebrates Emancipation Day on Friday, April 15 insteadwhich pushes the filing deadline to the following Monday. The filing date gets extended even further to Tuesday, April 19 for the states of Maine and Massachusetts, due to Patriots Day.

Common year-end statements needed to file your taxes include W-2 forms from employers and 1099 forms from any banks or other paying parties to taxpayers. Although personal e-filing services are available to file your taxes, do not stray away from a tax professional, tax service providers (H&R Block, Jackson Hewitt) or a certified public accountant (CPA) in finalizing taxes for the prior year.

A tax professional or CPA has more insight on items that can be expensed, deductions that can be applied and additional forms that may be needed. Consulting with a professional can be extremely beneficial in receiving the maximum refund in the event the filer is self-employed, a homeowner, pays tuition and fees for education, or falls under any other applicable category that should be included within a tax filing.

In the event a tax filing has been missed in prior years, be sure to file for that year as soon as possible, as a tax refund for a certain year can be claimed within three years of the due date. If you wait more than three years, any chance at receiving a refund for the missed year is forfeited. Furthermore, anyone can avoid late filing and late payment penalties, along with interest, that can possibly arise as a result of owing taxes from prior years.

To receive a tax refund as soon as possible and to stay out of the crosshairs of the IRS, handle tax filing over the next few days. For more information, visit the Internal Revenue Service online at IRS.gov or consult with a tax professional.