WASHINGTON The Internal Revenue Service urged taxpayers to take a moment before they file their income tax returns to be sure they do not overlook several important benefits to which they may be entitled.
Many taxpayers also overlook free services available to them, such as free tax help and the Free File program.
Still others lose out by not filing a return. Even if a taxpayer does not owe tax and is not required by law to file a return, he or she may miss out on a refund or tax credit that is available.
Following are three refunds, credits or services that taxpayers frequently overlook:
IRS Free File - Nearly 20 companies are offering free electronic filing to taxpayers whose adjusted gross income was $56,000 or less. That means 70 percent of all taxpayers, 95 million individuals, can take advantage of the IRS-sponsored Free File program. A link to Free File offerings is located on the IRS.gov homepage.
Earned Income Tax Credit - Earned income of less than certain amounts may qualify a taxpayer to claim the earned income tax credit. This credit could be worth thousands. When the EITC exceeds the amount of taxes owed, it results in a tax refund to those who claim and qualify for the credit. To qualify, taxpayers must meet certain requirements and file a tax return, even if they did not earn enough money to be obligated to file a tax return. An electronic special "EITC Assistant" is available on IRS.gov to help taxpayers determine whether they are eligible. Taxpayers can access more information on this credit by visiting IRS.gov and clicking on "1040 Central."
Free Tax Help - Tax help sites in libraries, churches, community centers and other locations are staffed by trained volunteers. Taxpayers who earned less than $56,000 and file a simple tax return can call 1-800-829-1040 to locate the nearest Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program site. In addition, senior citizens can take advantage of the free IRS Tax Counseling for the Elderly program by calling 1-800-829-1040 or AARP's Tax-Aide counseling program at 1-888-227-7669.