As originally published in the The State Journal Register.
No one really likes filing taxes, right? However, with Tax Day around the corner, it’s a good time to get started. This year, it’s easier than ever to file simple returns, both state and federal, if you use MyFreeTaxes.com.
United Way of Central Illinois is committed to ensuring people in Sangamon and Menard counties can easily and accurately file their taxes to receive the refunds and credits they deserve.
For the 12th year, United Way is providing online tax filing software, accessible through MyFreeTaxes.com, to help taxpayers easily and accurately file their taxes themselves from their computer or smartphone. Using MyFreeTaxes, you can file simple state and federal returns for free.
That means you can file your federal and state returns without spending any money in tax preparation fees. To date, MyFreeTaxes has helped 1.2 million people save $250 million in tax filing fees across the nation.
The secure software walks you through the filing process and screens for common tax deductions and credits you may be eligible for, like the Earned Income Tax Credit or the Child Tax Credit.
And new this year, you can also use MyFreeTaxes to claim missed stimulus payments. That’s part of our effort to make sure you get back every penny possible. Most filers complete their taxes in under one hour and save an average of $200 in fees by using MyFreeTaxes instead of a paid tax preparation site.
Also, new this year, the Tax Time Financial Checklist connects users to important financial products and services, including accessible and affordable bank accounts; a free student debt fintech platform that will help users resolve student debt challenges and adjust their payment plans to save money; and the ability to engage 211 to connect with a financial counseling program.
If you need help, you can use the Helpline to talk to a real person trained by the IRS. MyFreeTaxes’ Helpline is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily to clarify things like your filing status. Just call 1-866-698-9435.
MyFreeTaxes is the largest free, online tax filing product offered by a nonprofit. United Way of Central Illinois in cooperation with United Way Worldwide makes this service available as part of our fight for the financial stability of every person in our community.
People say doing their taxes is a chore, but it doesn’t have to be! MyFreeTaxes is fast. It’s easy. You can do it from anywhere: your phone, tablet or laptop. You can start on one device, and finish on another. Above all, MyFreeTaxes is free, regardless of income for all simple returns!
In addition to MyFreeTaxes, there are additional local services that tax filers can access. Ladder Up is offering free tax preparation for individuals earning up to $30,000 per year and families earning up to $57,000 per year.
Due to COVID-19 precautions, this normally in-person service has transitioned to drop-off and appointment only. After scheduling your appointment, go to the tax site, drop off your tax documents and your return, and you will work virtually to complete your filings.
Ladder Up drop-off service is held in the Salvation Army building at 1600 Clear Lake Ave., Springfield. Head to www.goladderup.org to schedule your appointment and view more program specifications.
For senior citizens, the AARP Tax-aide program provides free tax assistance with a focus on preparing taxes and addressing issues affecting those age 50 and older. Information on locations and services will be available soon and can be found on AARP’s website at www.aarp.org/taxaide. Residents can also call 866-448-3613 for more information.
Join us for our next United We Learn at 9:15 a.m. Feb. 5 to learn more about MyFreeTaxes and to hear how we’re helping to provide individuals and families the education, skills and supports needed to lead financially stable lives. Sign up for a reminder by heading to www.springfieldunitedway.org/UnitedWeLearn.
We ask for you to share this information with your friends, families and neighbors. Don’t forget to even share this information with your Human Resource department and coworkers. You can find additional information and links to these local tax assistance programs by calling 211 or 1-888-865-9903.
John Kelker is the President at United Way of Central Illinois.