Three Tips for Filing Taxes
Three Tips for Filing Taxes and Getting Free Support
It’s the time of year to start gathering your tax documents and file your tax returns. The pandemic has caused changes in tax policy and the ways you can receive free tax assistance. Here are tips from LSS on preparing your tax returns, including recommendations on filing your taxes and getting free tax preparation assistance in the COVID-19 era.
Tip 1: File Early
- Tax filing season normally begins at the end of January. However, the IRS moved that date back to February 12 so it can incorporate changes from the COVID-19 relief bill approved at the end of 2020.
- Filing early helps reduce the chance of someone filing a fraudulent return in your name.
- You will receive your refund faster.
- You will eliminate the stress of filing right before the deadline.
Tip 2: File Even If You Don’t Have To; Take Advantage of Tax Deductions
- Didn't receive your stimulus money or the full amount you were promised? You will need to file 2020 Form 1040 or 1040-SR to receive the Recovery Rebate Credit.
- Take advantage of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and other tax credits. If you have any verifiable earned income but not enough to require filing a return, you could be eligible for a tax refund by applying for these credits.
- See if you qualify for a property tax refund for renters and homeowners. You do not have to submit an income tax return to file for this refund. Send your property tax refund form to the MN Department of Revenue.
- As part of the COVID-19 relief package in 2020, you can claim a charitable deduction on your federal taxes even if you don't itemize. Last year’s CARES Act allows for a deduction of up to $300 for cash contributions made to qualifying organizations in 2020.
- You may also subtract some of your charitable contributions from your Minnesota taxable income. You can qualify for this deduction if you do not itemize deductions on your Minnesota income tax return and you donated more than $500 to qualifying organizations in 2020.
Tip 3: Take Advantage of Tax Preparation Assistance
- In Minnesota, it costs an average of $271 to file taxes. At a time when COVID-19 continues to create economic uncertainty, Minnesotans and their families can turn to free tax preparation sites. Keep in mind that some of these sites have income requirements in order to receive their services. Regardless of where you live, keep reading for how to find free tax prep sites in your area.
- Whether you qualify for free tax assistance or not, talk your tax preparer about any credits and deductions you might be eligible for.
CLICK HERE to see the full list of free tax assistance.
Being a TopLine member gives you and your family access to up to six (6) free private and confidential financial education counseling sessions annually with a certified consumer credit counselor from LSS Financial Counseling. Sessions are available by phone, in-person or online. Contact LSS today for your free financial education session at 1-800-528-2926 or visit LSS online and mention you are a TopLine member.
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