Should you file your taxes? YES

Tax time can be confusing and this year, there are a lot of changes that could mean you may be eligible to receive money that you did not expect. But you can’t get your refund if you don’t file.

The federal government is using the IRS to quickly distribute COVID-19 relief payments and other new benefits like the Child Tax Credit. You may be eligible for benefits even if you do not usually file taxes or have low/no earnings.

Don’t miss out! File now. It’s not too late.

Don’t miss out on the new Child Tax Credit

For Everyone

File online yourself using United Way’s MyFreeTaxes — free guided online software. A helpline (866-698-9435) is available daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. for questions about using the software.

File online for free now

For Wayne, Oakland and Macomb families that made up to $57,000 in 2020

Schedule an appointment for free, IRS-certified tax preparation services. A mix of entirely virtual, COVID-safe document drop-off, and in-person appointments are available.

Make an in-person appointment Make a no-contact appointment

MYTH

It’s too late to file taxes — I missed the deadline.

FACT

Even if you missed the deadline, you can still file late, and you should.

If you don’t owe taxes, there is no penalty for filing late. You can still file at any time to claim your refund. If you do owe taxes, you can still file after the deadline, and it’s still best to file as soon as possible. Filing as soon as possible minimizes the interest and penalties if you owe taxes.

MYTH

If I was out of work in 2020, there’s no reason to file my taxes.

FACT

You should file for your 2020 tax return — no matter what.

The newly expanded Child Tax Credit provides up to $3,600 per child to parents, guardians and caregivers of dependent children, even if you didn’t earn income. A special COVID-19 exception allows you to claim the Earned Income Tax Credit based on your 2019 earned income or your 2020 income — whichever gives you the highest refund. Even people who were out of work in 2020 can still receive a hefty refund. But, you have to file your taxes to do it.

MYTH

I don’t make enough money to bother filing taxes.

FACT

The federal government is increasingly using tax records to distribute COVID-19 relief payments and other new benefits.

Don’t miss out! If you didn’t receive your COVID-relief Economic Impact payments from the IRS last year, you can still claim your payment through the Recovery Rebate Credit by filing your taxes. When you file your taxes, you will automatically receive the new expanded Child Tax Credit and any new stimulus payments, if you are eligible. If you don’t file your taxes, you may have to take extra steps to receive the money you are entitled to, your payment may be delayed, or you may miss out entirely.

MYTH

I’m going to owe and can’t afford to pay my taxes, so it’s better not to file.

FACT

You won’t know whether and how much you owe until you actually file.

It’s possible you might get a pleasant surprise and have a refund instead! If you do owe, it’s better to file on time and set up a payment plan with the IRS rather than file late or not at all. Back taxes will pile up, and the longer you have gone without filing, the more you may owe in penalties and fees. The Child Tax Credit will offset up to $3,600 of back taxes owed.

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From child care and education resources to free tax prep and financial coaching, United Way works with hundreds of partners to provide services that help families become stable and ensure their children can thrive. Explore our resources, or call 2-1-1 for help.

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