Tax season can be confusing and stressful. And to make matters worse, there are always at least a few changes to the tax law every year.
Despite the challenges, it’s beneficial to file your taxes on time each year, verify the information is correct and ensure you’re receiving all eligible tax credits and refunds. This will help you avoid penalties for filing late or providing inaccurate information. It will also ensure you receive any tax refunds that may be coming your way. Unclaimed IRS tax refunds are surprisingly common; as of April 2021, taxpayers hadn’t claimed more than $1.3 billion owed to them in refunds—and that’s just for the 2017 tax year.
At United Way of Metropolitan Dallas, we recognize how important it is for North Texans to be able to hold on to as much of their income as possible. That’s because income, along with education and health, is one of the building blocks of opportunity. Each year we offer free tax preparation services to ensure our neighbors can navigate tax season with less stress and expense.
Benefits of United Way Tax Prep Services
For more than 10 years, United Way of Metropolitan Dallas has provided Dallas residents with access to free income tax assistance so working families can receive all their eligible tax credits and refunds.
Each year, we serve thousands of families and secure millions of dollars in tax refunds for our neighbors. In fact, since 2010 the program has directed $192 million in refunds back into our local economy.
For tax filers like you, United Way Free Tax Prep offers several benefits:
- It’s completely free, with no paid add-ons or upcharges.
- It’s safe, with IRS-trained and certified tax preparers handling your return.
- It saves you an average of $200 in tax prep fees.
- Most clients get an average refund of $2,400 by claiming all eligible tax credits and refunds.
- You can connect with other financial resources, such as affordable bank accounts and financial counseling, which enable you to save money or pay off debt.
Tax Prep Options for 2022
Due to COVID-19 restriction, in-person tax assistance services will likely be limited this year. However, our program includes several online and socially distanced alternatives:
Online tax prep: At MyFreeTaxes.com, you can access free, fully only tax preparation services in English or Spanish (and in more than 120 other languages through an interpretation service). The helpline is staffed by IRS-trained specialists, and 80% of filers finishes their taxes in less than one hour. MyFreeTaxes.com also can improve your overall financial situation by connecting you to important financial products and services, including accessible and affordable bank accounts, a financial counseling program and a student debt fintech platform that will help you resolve student debt challenges and adjust your payment plans to save money.
Drive-through and drop-off tax prep: A variety of local community tax centers are currently offering drive-through and drop-off tax prep to North Texans who earn less than $58,000 a year or have a child under 18. Visit www.dallastaxcenters.org to view a list of locations and to make an appointment.
For details on our tax prep services, including what to bring to your tax appointment, visit our financial resources page.
Other Important Info for 2021 Returns
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress expanded tax benefits for 2021, and you may be eligible to receive more money through your tax refund. Here are important tax benefits for your 2021 taxes:
- Child tax credit: For 2021, the child tax credit is fully refundable, so if you don’t owe any tax, you’ll get the full amount for which you’re eligible as part of your tax refund.
- Child and dependent care credit: If you spent money in 2021 on childcare expenses while working or actively looking for work, more of your childcare expenses can be reimbursed than in previous years.
- Earned income tax credit (EITC): In years past, EITC was only for eligible working people with children, but now the credit has been expanded to include more filers, including lower-income workers with no children, according to the IRS. If you’re a low-income worker who is at least 19 years old (with or without children), or you’re 18 years old and formerly in foster care or experiencing homelessness, you’re now eligible to claim the EITC.
Another important note: If you received emergency rental or utility assistance payments in 2021, these funds aren’t considered taxable income and don’t need to be declared on your tax return.
For more details on these and other 2021 tax considerations, visit the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Guide to Filing Your 2021 Taxes.
Looking for Additional Financial Resources?
United Way of Metropolitan Dallas offers a variety of programs and resources to ensure our neighbors have a foundation for financial stability. For more information, view our financial stability programs or visit our financial resources page.
This article was published on: Feb 17, 2022