Tax season is back in full swing, but the ongoing economic impact of COVID-19 remains.
Here are some things you should know about available resources that can provide direct financial relief:
If you’ve been one of the millions of people who haven’t received either or both of your economic impact payments, commonly known as a stimulus check, filing your taxes is an opportunity to claim the missed income. When you file your taxes, you can claim that missed payment or payments as a tax credit. For example, if you owe $ 2,600 for this upcoming filing but haven’t received payments for economic impact of $ 2,600, your liability will drop to $ 0.
Working families and individuals can get a larger refund through the Earned Income Tax Credit. The EITC aims to provide tax breaks for low to middle income workers and their families. You can qualify for the EITC if you:
- A grandparent carer
- A foster parent
- A victim of abuse
- Earning a low income at work and having no children
- A family or person with excessive debt
- A person with disabilities who earns a low income
- Recently unemployed
- A person with limited English proficiency who earns a low income
Do you think you could qualify? Visit apps.irs.gov/app/eitc/ to see if you qualify for more information using the official IRS EITC.
Don’t worry if these opportunities seem intimidating. You may be eligible for free tax preparation from a licensed professional.
Cuyahoga County residents can obtain free tax preparation and filing through the Cuyahoga Earned Income Tax Assistance Coalition, which is part of the IRS’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program. This free filing service is available to those with a household income below $ 57,000 who do not own a rental property.
“We’re saving a taxpayer an average of $ 300-450 that they would otherwise spend on a paid preparer,” said Andre Ross, coalition volunteer and outreach coordinator. Visit RefundOhio.org to make an appointment. Virtual and socially remote personal consultations are available.
Lorain County residents seeking free tax preparation should contact the Lorain County Free Tax Prep Coalition. Most families and individuals earning less than $ 60,000 are eligible. Call 211 to answer your questions and make an appointment at the appropriate location. To learn more, visit loraincountyfreetaxprep.org.
Lake County residents seeking free tax preparation can make an appointment by calling 211, sponsored by Lifeline, Inc.
If you live in Ashtabula, Geauga, or any other county and are interested in free tax preparation programs, you can use a site locator tool on the IRS website. The tool allows you to enter your zip code and find professional, free storage options in your area.
Remember that the deadline for filing your taxes for 2020 is April 15th, 2021.
If you are dealing with a legal tax-related issue, contact Legal Aid at lasclev.org/contact or call Legal Aid at 888-817-3777 during most business hours. Legal Aid has a low-income taxpayer clinic that helps people who are in controversy with the IRS.