Resources to Help You File Your Taxes for Free and Maximize Your Tax Refund
January 26, 2021
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It’s tax season! We want to make sure you get the full tax return you are owed, while saving you money by filing for free. Here’s a cheat-sheet on some great resources we recommend to help you navigate your taxes this year.
File Your Taxes for Free
Most Americans can file their taxes online without paying a dime. This probably includes you!
- If you want help from an IRS-trained volunteer, see if you qualify to get free tax prep help at a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) site.
- If you don’t qualify for VITA, you may still be able to file for free using Free File Fillable Forms.
Claim the Earned Income Tax Credit
The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) helps working Americans by issuing them a credit when they file their taxes. If you qualify, your EITC will be based on your income and number of dependents.
- If you’re not sure if you qualify, or if you usually don’t file taxes, use the IRS EITC Assistant tool to calculate whether you’re eligible and how much money you could receive.
- The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has a helpful website dedicated to helping you understand what tax credits you may be eligible for and how to claim them.
- Did you earn less in 2020 than 2019? You could qualify for a bigger tax refund! Congress approved a new ‘lookback rule’ which means you can use either your 2019 or 2020 income on your taxes to get the biggest refund possible this year. Make sure you have your 2019 tax return available when you do your taxes this year.
- Read more about EITC, including some important changes this year and how your EITC may be impacted if you received unemployment benefits.
File Your Taxes to Receive Past Stimulus Payments
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Federal government has sent out two rounds of stimulus checks. If you should have been eligible but didn’t receive either or both of the payments, the only way to get that money is by filing your taxes.
- Have you received your stimulus payment as a debit card or check in the mail? If not, use the IRS’s Get My Payment tool to check your status.
- If you didn’t receive the full stimulus amount from either or both of the stimulus payments, it’s not too late! You may be eligible for the Recovery Rebate Credit. The stimulus payments were based on your 2019 income, so if you faced a loss in income in 2020, if you were newly independent in 2020, or if you had additional dependents in 2020, you may receive additional money when you file your 2020 tax return.
- Read more about how to claim your stimulus payment if you haven’t received it yet.
Stay Alert for Fraud and Scams During Tax Time
Many people receive a lot of money in their tax refund. Unfortunately, scammers know this and often try to take advantage of people during this time. It’s important to be vigilant and know what to expect during tax time so you stay one step ahead.
- Be extremely careful about what you share on social media related to your taxes and make sure you’re going to official sources like the IRS website to get information. The IRS’s Taxpayer Advocate Service is a great resource to find reputable tax information and tips.
- There are some common scams that we often see related to tax time. Read more on tips on how to recognize a tax scam and what to keep an eye out for.
SaverLife is a nonprofit that helps you save money with helpful tips, a supportive community, and prizes to reward you on your savings journey. SaverLife is giving away $20,000 to people who pledge to file their taxes for free this year. Sign up now!