Big tax changes may mean smaller refunds, tips for filing tax returns
HOUSTON - W-2's and 1099's are going out, and you may be getting ready to file your tax return.
While the IRS says you may get a smaller refund this year, many people are still looking forward to the check to help make ends meet.
"It’s something off your back. You don’t have to worry about it too much. You just come in, sit five minutes, and you're out," said taxpayer Fernando Stella.
Taxpayers are filing in for BakerRipley's free tax filing help, available for individuals earning up to $58,000 a year.
"It’s easy and convenient to come over here and do my taxes," said taxpayer Jorge Zubizarreta.
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BakerRipley Tax Centers are helping taxpayers navigate big changes this year, including the end of pandemic credits that boosted refunds the last two years.
"Most of those expired, so, especially for low-income families, you may expect to get a smaller refund from last year," explained Cristina Cave, Community Relations Senior Manager with BakerRipley.
In 2022, there were no stimulus checks. And the Child Tax Credit, Earned Income Tax Credit, and the Child and Dependent Care Credit returned to pre-COVID levels.
"But it's important to keep in mind those programs are still here. There’s still a Child Tax Credit for $2,000, a Dependent Care Credit over $2,000, an Earned Income Tax Credit over $6,000," said Mark Steber, Chief Tax Information Officer for Jackson Hewitt.
Previously, individuals could claim up to $300 in charitable contributions, on top of taking the standard deduction, but this year contributions must be itemized.
And did you buy an EV or install solar panels in 2022? Be sure to claim the credits.
"Alternative electric vehicle credits, home improvement credits, they expanded and extended," said Steber.
But homeowners who itemize can no longer deduct their mortgage insurance premium.
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And some remote workers, in some states, may face double tax for working in a state other than where their employer is based.
There are many changes to keep up with.
"So get your documents ready and come and visit any of our over 20 locations," said Cave.
"That’s one thing, I’m not on top of it. They tell you what you can claim and what you're entitled to," said Stella.
Taxpayers earning below $58,000 in 2022 can qualify for free tax preparation help through BakerRipley, the IRS's Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program, and Free File. Or call 211 for more information.
This year's federal income tax filing deadline is April 18.