IRS to begin processing tax returns

By Amy Davis - Reporter/Consumer Expert

HOUSTON - If you haven't filed your taxes yet, what are you waiting for? The Internal Revenue Service will begin processing returns on Wednesday.

The Internal Revenue Service issues most refunds in less than 21 days, so if you get your return in electronically this week, you'll likely get your money well before March. KPRC Local 2 has come up with a couple of ways to make sure you get more or save more on taxes this year.

If you earned $50,000 or less last year, you can probably take the Earned Income Tax Credit. The ETIC reduces how much you owe in federal taxes and it could score you a refund. The IRS said one in every five people who qualify don't claim the credit. To find out if you do, use the Earned Income Tax Credit Assistant on the IRS's website.

Want more help? The United Way and nonprofit Neighborhood Centers will do your taxes and file the paperwork for free if you have a family and make $50,000 or less or if you're single and make $30,000 or less.

"This is the easiest way to give families an infusion of cash by claiming these federal credits, putting it in their pockets," said Elizabeth Colvin of United Way.

Do you need help preparing your tax return? Learn about the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) programs.

VITA Program: If you make $51,000 or less, IRS-certified volunteers can inform you about tax credits for which you may qualify and prepare a basic tax return with electronic filing.

TCE Program: If you are 60 years of age or older, you may qualify for free tax help from IRS-certified volunteers who specialize in issues that pertain to seniors.

There are thousands of locations across the United States where you can get free tax help through the VITA and TCE programs.

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