Tips for Tax Season

by | Feb 26, 2020 | News

With Tax Day around the corner, it’s a good time to highlight the costliest mistakes that tax experts say we make in filing our taxes.  Since 2009, H&R Block and United Way have helped some 1.2 million people nationwide save some $250 million in filing fees, and bring back more than $1.7 billion in refunds through United Way of Greater Fall River is committed to ensuring that people in Greater Fall RIver can easily and accurately file their taxes to receive the refunds and credits they deserve.

No matter your income, you can file simple state and federal returns for free using MyFreeTaxes®. This is the only free, online tax filing product offered by a nonprofit. United Way makes this available
as part of our fight for the financial stability of every person in every community.

In addition to using MyFreeTaxes® for simple returns, tax experts offer the following tips to minimize mistakes
and to maximize your refund this tax season.

  1. Choose Carefully – One of the most common mistakes taxpayers make is selecting the wrong filing status. That can affect which credits and deductions you’re eligible for, the value of your standard
    deduction and even your tax bracket. When life gets complicated, taxes get more complicated, too. For example, if a taxpayer with children is getting divorced, they may not be sure if they should file as “married filing jointly” or “married filing separately” or whether they qualify to file as head of household. MyFreeTaxes can help answer those questions. You can use the 24/7 chat function, or you can talk to a real person trained by the IRS. MyFreeTaxes’ help line is open from 10 am-10 pm EST daily to clarify things like filing status. Just call 1-866-698-9435.
  2. Check Yourself – Always double-check the basics. Check your tax returns and make sure your name and the names of your spouse and/or dependents and Social Security numbers are right. Make sure to double check information you’ve pulled from your W-2 — transposing numbers or entering numbers in the wrong fields are common errors.
  3. Find What You’ve Got Coming – Nearly 5 million Americans leave an average of $3,000 each on the table each year by failing to claim common deductions and exemptions. MyFreeTaxes automatically screens for credit and deduction eligibility for things like the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child Tax Credit. Nearly 20% of eligible people don’t claim the EITC. Depending on income and number of kids, that could mean leaving $500 to $6,000 on the table. You may think you can’t get the EITC if you don’t earn enough money to file a return. Wrong. The EITC is a refundable credit, so even if you don’t owe taxes, you can still get the EITC. Check it out on!
  4. Education Matters — Education credits are another often-overlooked benefit. Depending on the kind of academic program, what year the student is in, income and other restrictions, a student may use the American Opportunity Credit of up to $2,500 or the Lifetime Learning Credit of up to $2,000. Get details here. And know that MyFreeTaxes software screens for that automatically as it guides you through your returns.
  5. Complex Returns – If you’ve got a more complex return, like a Schedule C (contractor, freelancer or side hustle income), know that the My Free Taxes software doesn’t support that as one of the many free forms. If you wish to use MyFreeTaxes to file your taxes, you will be charged $24.99 for a federal return and $18.50 for each state (a 50% discount).