Here’s a guest blog post from our friends at Prepare + Prosper about this year’s tax season…
It’s tax season and the team at Prepare + Prosper wants you and/or the people you may work with to make the most of tax time and tax refunds. Prepare + Prosper is a St. Paul-based nonprofit with a 45-year history. By leveraging the help of 550+ IRS-certified volunteers, we provide free tax and financial services and coaching to more than 13,000 people every year. We also run a run a statewide Claim it! campaign that promotes the Earned Income Tax Credit and free tax preparation across the state. Did you know that there are 290 free tax preparation sites in Minnesota?
Below are tips from our team to help people maximize tax time and their tax refunds.
- Save hundreds of dollars by filing for free. Minnesota has more than 290 free tax preparation sites where taxes are prepared by IRS-certified volunteers who will help you get your maximum refund. You can also file online for free using MyFreeTaxes, if you made under $62,000.
- Get your refund faster and safer using direct deposit. Bring your routing and account numbers for your checking account, savings account, and/or prepaid card.
- Use your refund to get ahead. Consider putting a portion of your refund into your savings account to save for a rainy day or use it to help you pay down debt. Via your tax form, you could also use your refund to buy a U.S. Savings Bond or open a myRA, a new retirement account from the U.S. Department of the Treasury designed to be simple, safe and affordable.
- You could receive up to $6,242 from the Earned Income Tax Credit. If you had earned income in 2015 and made less than $53,267, you could be eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit.
- Bring all your documents to maximize your refund. Ensure you have all your documents including proof of identification and a Social Security card or Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN), picture I.D., and income statements.
- Know who you can claim as a dependent. If you are separated, divorced, or never married, know who is entitled to claim the child(ren).
- Save your receipts from school supplies. If you paid for K-12 school-related expenses like notebooks, rental of musical instruments, transportation fees for school-time field trips, bring the receipts when you file taxes to get up to 75% back of the expenses or reduce the tax you owe.
- If you use a paid tax preparer, choose wisely. When selecting an individual or company to prepare your taxes, check the person or company’s qualifications, ask about their service fees upfront, and make sure they are accessible after April 18.
- There are three additional days to file your taxes this year. Tax Day is April 18 this year. The last day to claim a 2015 Minnesota property tax refund is August 15, 2017.
- Use tax time to jumpstart work on your financial goals. Check out Prepare + Prosper’s financial coaching program, Money Mentors. There are informational sessions for the 6-12-month, one-on-one program in February and March.
Please help us spread the word about free tax preparation and financial services. If you’d like flyers, newsletter content, or anything else, please contact Taylor Putz, Claim it! campaign manager at firstname.lastname@example.org or 651-262-2160.
Anne Leland Clark, Financial Capability Director
Taylor Putz, Claim it! Campaign Manager
For more tips about tax time, check out other posts on Sense and Centsibility like Income Tax Preparation: How to choose reputable tax preparers and avoid scams, 7 Money Smart Ways to Spend Your Tax Return, and Identity Theft and Taxes: How to protect yourself.