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Sunday, May 22, 2022

Make Taxes Less Stressful

We’re in the last legs of tax season. The filing deadline for your 2021 return (Tax Day) is Monday, April 18, 2022. If you haven’t already filed, now is the time! Tax filing can be intimidating, but both the California Franchise Tax Board (FTB) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) have lots of resources to make it easier. Did you know you file many tax returns for FREE? Or that qualifying taxpayers and the elderly can get FREE tax return help, including basic return preparation?

Free File

There are now Free File options available for both federal taxes and California state taxes. There are some restrictions on who can use the free filing programs, like income limits or the complexity of your return, but we recommend checking first to see if you’re eligible for this option. For more information about Free File, visit www.ftb.ca.gov/file for California and www.irs.gov/individuals for federal.

Free Tax Help

The IRS has a program where qualified taxpayers can get help from volunteers in preparing basic returns for FREE. The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program is available to people who make $58,000 or less, those with disabilities, and limited English-speakers. Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) is available for those 60 years and older and specializes in issues unique to seniors, like questions about pensions and retirement issues. All volunteers must have demonstrated knowledge of tax law and are a reliable and trustworthy resource.

To find a VITA site near you, use the online location tool or call 800-906-9887.

Most TCE sites are operated by the AARP Foundation Tax Aide program. To find a TCE location, use the AARP TCE online location tool or call 888-227-7669.

Other Tips

You will need to include information about any Economic Impact Payments (stimulus payments) on your 2021 return. The IRS is mailing special letters with this information, or you find it in your online account. If you were eligible to receive Economic Impact Payments, but are still waiting on some of your payout, you may need to file a return to claim the Recovery Rebate Credit, even if you do not normally file taxes. The deadline to file or request an extension is Monday, April 18, 2022.

For additional information and tax filing resources, visit the Franchise Tax Board for California taxes and the IRS for federal taxes.

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