Many households may file taxes early to obtain their money faster as thousands of Floridians struggle. However, a local group advises filing taxes in February to maximize refunds.
Early Tax Filings to Avoid Predatory Practices
Heart of Florida United Way reports that over 380,000 Central Florida households struggle to afford living expenses. “Don’t fear Uncle Sam. “He won’t beat you up at your door,” said Heart of Florida United Way financial stability programs manager Tien Holmes. Holmes warned that rapid cash can lead to predatory behavior. “One thing about pay preparers… they’re really about getting clients and they’re about volume – that’s their job,” said Holmes. They work to get you in and pay fees so the group gets money. We don’t want these people to exploit you.” Earned Income Tax Credit helps low-income families obtain tax relief and boosts their refund, but 20% of eligible taxpayers never claim it, according to the IRS. United Way advises filing taxes in February to obtain all their money. “Many folks with one or two W-2s and two kids spend $225 for it. No need, Holmes said.
United Way claimed few people know about their 15 free tax preparation websites from Feb. 2 to April 15. We can’t get paid for this service. Everyone volunteers,” said Holmes. “We undergo rigorous training to ensure all our volunteers are IRS certified.” IRS-partnered free tax help. Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) websites allow free filing for anybody earning less than $73,000 last year. United Way’s 211 language crisis line can assist families in getting free tax help near them, including online. “What we try to do is make sure we’re providing all the options to the different VITA sites for community members to go and meet with a volunteer, an expert at preparing taxes,” said Heart of Florida United Way crisis services and quality insurance manager Israel Navarro. One site may book faster than another. Thus, giving them as many options as possible is ideal.”