It's often said that April 15 is Americans' least favorite day of the year -- the day when many of us scramble at the last minute to get our taxes done. In recent years, that has meant less running to the post office and more rushing to get all of our tax information into online tax filing sites (and putting down a hefty tax prep payment to boot).
But, the truth is, tax season should actually be an exciting time for most of us. Why? Well for starters, millions of workers don't realize that they're eligible for more than $6,000 in extra federal income tax refunds via the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). On top of that, the majority of individuals and families in the United States are also eligible for free online tax preparation and filing assistance. If you haven't filed your taxes yet, or if you're planning to pay for an online tax prep service, you'll want to keep reading.
Every family or individual who earned $60,000 or less in 2014 -- that's more than half of Americans -- is eligible for free tax preparation and filing assistance via MyFreeTaxes.com. The first free online platform that can be used to file federal and state taxes in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, MyFreeTaxes offers virtual tax and software support in both English and Spanish. It's also safe, secure -- and did I mention? -- it's 100 percent free?
Funded by the Walmart Foundation and operated in partnership with Goodwill Industries International, National Disability Institute and United Way, MyFreeTaxes not only provides free access to federal and state tax filing online, if needed, it also connects tax filers to local in-person tax preparation and filing assistance in their communities. While you're probably thinking -- "That's great, I'll save the $200 I was planning to pay on tax prep this year," --- you may actually have a chance to save much more than that.
That's because of the EITC, a refundable tax credit for low- to moderate-income working individuals and families. Households with earned income of $52,427 or less in 2014 may qualify to claim the EITC and could be eligible to receive tax refunds of as much as $6,143 from the IRS. Just because you've never received the EITC in the past doesn't mean you're not eligible. Many people will qualify for the EITC for the first time this year due to changes in their income, or marital or parental status. According to the IRS, one out of every five eligible workers is unaware they qualify.
We all know that many hard-working families and individuals could use a financial boost in this still-tough economy. Millions of Americans can get just that by taking advantage of the tax credits and free filing services available to them. It's late-March and tax day is just around the corner. This year, don't dread it. Start taking advantage of the free tools available to you now, so that this time around, you can make tax day work for you.