Tax FAQs

I need to file

I missed the deadline. Can I still file?

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Yes! There’s no penalty for filing late if you receive a refund. Even if you do owe money, it’s best to file as soon as possible to minimize penalties. Get expert help filing your taxes at no cost to you.

I didn’t file taxes last year, why should I file this year?

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Even if you have not filed taxes in a while, you can still benefit from filing your 2022 tax return in 2023. You may have thousands of dollars waiting for you in unclaimed credits!

Why should I file taxes when I don’t make enough money to bother, or was out of work in 2022?

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The federal government is increasingly using tax records to distribute benefits. When you file your taxes, you may find you that you are entitled to unclaimed benefits! If you worked even a little bit, you may be eligible to receive extra money through the Earned Income Tax Credit. And the Child Tax Credit provides up to $2,000 per child to parents, guardians and caregivers of dependent children, so long as you earned at least $2,500. Even people who did not earn much in 2022 can still receive a big refund. You may also qualify for Michigan tax credits, which do not require any earned income.

I’m concerned that I’m going to owe and can’t afford to pay my taxes, so isn’t it better to not file taxes?

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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 before the deadline and set up a payment plan with the IRS rather than not file at all. Back taxes will pile up, and the longer you have gone without filing, the more you may owe in penalties and fees. You may be eligible for the Child Tax Credit, which could offset up to $2,000 per child of back taxes owed.

I’ve filed

I filed my taxes but haven’t received my payment yet. What can I do?

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If you don’t have a bank account on file with the IRS, your payment will be sent to you in the mail. It may take several weeks to arrive. Direct deposit is the fastest way to get payments. Check your tax return to see whether you gave the IRS your bank account information and, if so, that it is the correct bank account.

If you received the Earned Income Tax Credit, the IRS starts sending refunds in mid-February. By law, the IRS is not allowed to send EITC refunds during the first few weeks of tax season.

How do I set up a bank account so I can receive direct deposits (instead of having a paper check mailed to me)?

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BankOn offers safe, low cost banking options. If you want local or one-on-one assistance, the City of Detroit’s Financial Empowerment Center can help you in setting up a bank account.

Questions regarding children

I had a baby in 2022. Can I claim the Child Tax Credit for my new child?

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Yes! You are eligible for the Child Tax Credit for the new child, so long as you earned at least $2,500 from working in 2022. To claim your credit, you must file a 2022 tax return in early 2023. We can help you file your taxes and claim your payment.

Someone else claimed my children on their taxes last year, or I expect someone else to claim my children on their taxes in 2023. What should I know?

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If someone else claimed your child(ren) on their taxes last year and you expect that person to claim your child(ren) again on their taxes in 2023:
• If the child(ren) do not live with you at least six months out of the year, you are likely not eligible to receive the Child Tax Credit or the Earned Income Tax Credit for that child.
• If the child(ren) live with you more than six months out of the year but someone else usually claims them on their taxes, talk to a tax professional for advice. Make a free appointment with one of our tax prep partners to get help.

If someone else claimed your child(ren) on their taxes last year but you expect to claim your child(ren) on your taxes in 2023:
• If you claim the child(ren) on your tax return in 2023, and no one else does, you will be eligible to receive the Child Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit for that child. Only one person or family can claim a particular child at the same time.
• If you and someone else both claim your child(ren) in the same year, your refund may be delayed. Consult a tax professional for advice. Make a free appointment with one of our tax prep partners to get help.

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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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