As Tax Filing Season Kicks Off Today, Reed Highlights Free Tax Prep Assistance for RIers
PROVIDENCE, RI – Today is the first day of the 2023 tax filing season, and U.S. Senator Jack Reed is highlighting a number of free resources available to help Rhode Islanders file with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and take advantage of available tax credits to save money this year.
According to the IRS, more than 168 million individual 2022 tax returns are expected to be filed by this year’s deadline of April 18, 2023.
Senator Reed says that filing early has key benefits, including getting refunds early, giving yourself more time to pay if you owe, and reducing the chances of tax fraud and identity theft.
Senator Reed urges Rhode Islanders who need assistance with their taxes to go to: IRS.gov. The United Way of Rhode Island may also be able to help provide free tax preparation and filing services to eligible individuals. Simply call the United Way at: 2-1-1. Individuals who need help filing their paperwork may also call the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) line at: 1-800-906-9887.
Reed also noted that all Rhode Islanders can take advantage of e-filing and free tax preparation services available at IRS.gov. Everyone is eligible to use Free File fillable forms, which are online versions of the IRS’s paper forms designed for people comfortable preparing their own tax returns. And Rhode Islanders making $73,000 or less may access free, brand name tax preparation software and file their taxes for free online. Participating taxpayers can have their tax refunds direct deposited in as little as 10 days.
Rhode Islanders who need additional time to file their federal taxes may receive a penalty-free 6 month extension if they file Form 4868 (the Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return) by this year’s federal tax deadline.
There are several free federal tax-filing options and services available for Rhode Islanders, including:
Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program
The VITA program is managed by the IRS, but operated by IRS partners and staffed with volunteers. It offers free tax assistance for people who need help preparing their own tax returns who generally make $60,000 or less, people with disabilities and taxpayers with limited English language proficiency. You can find a VITA site near you here.
Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) & The AARP Tax Aide Program
The TCE program offers free tax help for those who are 60 years or older. This service, which is also operated at several VITA sites around the state, specializes in providing information around pensions and retirement-related issues.
Trained AARP Foundation Tax-Aide volunteers can provide in-person tax assistance free of charge, with a focus on taxpayers who are over 50 and have low to moderate income. Taxpayers with complex returns may be advised to seek paid assistance.
Tax credits you may be eligible for:
The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)
The EITC is a refundable credit that can help low- and moderate-income workers and families. The credit amount varies across family sizes and incomes, but is available for eligible taxpayers who have earned as much as $59,187 and whose invested income was less than $10,300 in the tax year 2022. You must have earned income to qualify for this credit; unearned income, such as unemployment income, is not considered eligible for this credit. The IRS will hold a special session on January 27th to provide information and to encourage taxpayers to ensure they understand the important benefits of this credit.
The CTC is a tax credit available for single or married workers earning low or moderate incomes who have dependent children under the age of 17. Qualifying individuals who file a federal tax return can receive a credit of up to $2,000 per child.
An IRA is a personal savings arrangement that allows you to set aside money for retirement. You may be able to deduct some or all of your contributions to a traditional IRA, or eligible for a tax credit equal to the percentage of your contribution..
Tax credits, deductions and savings plans may help taxpayers afford higher education expenses. An education credit reduces the amount of tax owed on tax returns. If the credit reduces your tax liability to less than zero, you may get a refund. The two types of education credits available are the American Opportunity Tax Credit and the Lifetime Learning Credit.
A full list of potential credits and deductions available is here.
Ahead of filing your taxes, filers may need to have the following documents and information on hand:
• Social Security Number (SSN)
• Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN)
• Adoption Taxpayer Identification Numbers
• Identity Protection Personal Identification Numbers (IP PIN) valid for calendar year 2023
• Routing and account numbers to receive your refund by direct deposit
• Forms regarding source of income (for example, a W-2 for employment income)
• Documents regarding deductions, if applicable
To get your refunds as quickly and easily as possible, file electronically and choose direct deposit.
Beware of scams: The IRS will never contact taxpayers by email, text message or social media channels to request personal or financial information. The IRS will also never demand immediate payment without first offering taxpayers the chance to appeal or question the amount owed.
To report a scam to the IRS or if you have questions, visit: https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/tax-scams-how-to-report-them