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Tax Season: Use these tips to help maximize your return

The tax season is officially open and through April, we’ll be sharing some filing tips with you to maximize your return.

If you can’t get your tax information together by the April 18 deadline, you can file an extension to automatically move your deadline to October 16.

Tax Credits

Important to note: some tax credits return to 2019 levels. This means that many taxpayers will likely receive a significantly smaller refund compared with the previous tax year. Changes include the Child Tax Credit, Earned Income Tax Credit, and Child and Dependent Care Credit.

Those who received $3,600 per dependent in 2021 for the Child Tax Credit will, if eligible, receive $2,000 dollars for the 2022 tax year. The Child and Dependent Care Credit returns to a maximum of $2,100 in 2022 instead of the $8,000 max in 2021.

The Earned Income Tax Credit is designed to help reduce poverty and encourage work participation for those who earn less than a specified income threshold. That limit varies based on your filing status and the number of children you have. For example, a married couple with three or more children can qualify with an income of up to $63,698. A single tax filer with one child may qualify if they earn less than $46,560. Earned income does not include pay you got for work when you were an inmate in a penal institution, interest and dividends, pensions or annuities, social security, unemployment benefits, alimony, or child support.

Other tax tips include:

  • Contribute to retirement accounts.
  • Organize your records for tax time.
  • Find the right tax forms.
  • Itemize your tax deductions.
  • Don’t shy away from a home office tax deduction.
  • Provide dependent taxpayer IDs on your tax return.
  • File and pay on time.

Get Help Filing

If you live in California you can get free tax help from these programs:

  1. Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA), if you:
  2. Make $60,000 or less, generally
  3. Have disabilities, or
  4. Speak limited English
  5. Are active duty or retired military personnel, or a dependent
  6. Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE), if you’re at least 60 years old

Remember to be cautious with whom you share your tax and personal information. Thousands of people have lost millions of dollars and their personal information to tax scams. Scammers use the regular mail, telephone, or email to set up individuals, businesses, payroll and tax professionals. Report a scam here.

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