Get the tax refund you deserve

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Looking for free, fast tax prep? Look no further! Getting help is easy with Tax-Aide and MyFreeTaxes.

Tax-Aide is brought to our community by AARP, but you donít have to be retired to take advantage of it. With the help of their team of IRS-certified volunteers, they make it easy for you to file your taxes and get those pesky deduction questions answered in-person.

If you would like to file your taxes on your own, simply head to MyFreeTaxes.com. The site is mobile optimized so it is easy and fast. Most filers complete their taxes in less than hour.

If your household earned less than $66,000 in 2018 you can file both your federal and state returns for free. United Way has made it available to over 100 million U.S. taxpayers to help fight for the financial stability of every person in every community. It is completely free for individuals and families ó whether you file in multiple states, work freelance, have a side gig or earn investment income. MyFreeTaxes is powered by H&R Blockís premium software, so filing is easy, secure and guaranteed to be 100 percent accurate.

Itís important to seek educated and accurate tax preparation services and tools. If taxes arenít filed correctly, many Idahoans could go without getting their proper refund, including the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).

The EITC is one of the best tools we have to promote work and fight poverty, lifting about 6 million Americans out of poverty annually. Only those who work are eligible for this credit, and recipients use the EITC for reliable transportation to work, for groceries and for quality childcare. The EITC is a common-sense tax break that helps lower-income workers keep more of what they earn to put food on the table, cover rent and have a shot at a brighter future. The EITC is a refundable tax credit that is structured to encourage and reward work and helps to offset federal payroll and income taxes. The amount of EITC depends on a workerís income, marital status and number of children.

The refundable Child Tax Credit (CTC) is similarly designed to incentivize work and helps parents offset the cost of raising children. Together, the EITC and CTC are among our nationís most effective pro-work, anti-poverty tools. Because workers spend their tax refunds at local businesses at home, the EITC and CTC pump money into communities all around Idaho, supporting the local economy.

For the last 40 years, EITC made life better for millions of workers. You may have extra money waiting for you. If you qualify and claim the credit, it could be thousands of dollars from the IRS for some workers.

According to the United Way ALICE Report, one-fourth of households in the five northern counties are working but struggling to make ends meet. Donít be the one in five individuals who misses this credit. If you or someone you know earned less than $53,930 from wages, running a business or farm, or from Form 1099 MISC check it out. In 2018, 124,000 Idaho taxpayers were able to claim the EITC, totaling $288 million. That is an average amount of $2,332, which goes a long way when youíre living paycheck to paycheck.

Next steps? If you qualify for tax assistance, use it and save money while ensuring it is done correctly. If you have tax help experience then reach out to Tax-Aide to volunteer, and if not, then reach out to United Way of North Idaho to volunteer for the community ALICE Project. Find out more about the ALICE Project at UnitedWayofNorthIdaho.org/ALICE. To get started on your taxes, head straight to MyFreeTaxes.com. The Tax-Aide service at the Silver Lake Mall offers walk in appointments from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays, starting Feb. 1.

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Kristina Lallatin of Lakeside Accounting is Treasurer, United Way of North Idaho.

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