At UtahTaxHelp.org, Free Means Free
April 15th is around the corner. And many Utah tax filers are anxious to get their refunds back fast. But don’t fall prey to tax filing schemes or hidden fees offered by many paid preparers — including the three largest tax preparation chains. Here are three ways to avoid hidden tax filing fees:
1. File your state and federal taxes 100% free with qualified IRS-certified volunteer tax preparers.
The average Utah tax filer pays $211 to file their taxes — for one third of Utah tax filers, that’s approximately 12% of their monthly income — income which instead could buy a three month supply of diapers, a car payment or a college semester’s worth of books. Beware of hidden charges some paid preparers disguise as “application,” “administrative,” “e-filing,” “processing,” “service bureau” or “transmission” fees. Other paid preparers may offer free state tax filing but catch you unawares by charging for federal tax filing. Remember: if it’s not zero dollars, it’s not free. At UtahTaxHelp.org, free means free. No hidden fees.
2. Don’t pay a fee to get your own money.
Other tricky tactics used by some paid preparers include charging you to get the credits you deserve; the more forms they fill out to get those credits for you, the more they charge. Many of these valuable credits mean real money to Utah tax filers, like the EITC or Earned Income Tax Credit. For those Utahns who qualify, the average EITC is $2100 — that’s approximately 10% of the annual income for one third of Utah tax filers! UtahTaxHelp.org‘s qualified IRS-certified volunteer tax preparers are dedicated to making sure that you get all the credits you deserve, 100% free, with no form-filing fee. After all, it’s your money! It should go back in your pocket, free of charge.
3. Avoid refund loan, check and bank account scams.
The IRS has cracked down on many refund anticipation loans and checks (temporary loans of your money at typically 35% to 500% interest). But many paid preparers are disguising them under new names, like “personal line of credit.” In addition to sky-high interest, these scams are often rife with other “transmittal” or “access” fees. Other paid preparers falsely claim that a bank account is required in order for you to receive your refund, then charge you a fee to open one; even if you don’t have a bank account, you’re entitled to receive your full refund by mail — and you don’t have to pay to get it. UtahTaxHelp.org will help you get your money fast and safely — without any sneaky fees.
UtahTaxHelp.org is a statewide initiative powered by Community Action Partnership of Utah, a nonprofit dedicated to providing tax help you can trust. Call 2-1-1 for more information or visit UtahTaxHelp.org to file your taxes for free — online or in person at one of 90 locations throughout Utah. At UtahTaxHelp.org, free means free.