Tax Assistance for Western Students
Events will be held each income tax filing season to assist Western students and employees in their self-filing of their income taxes using the web-based software available publicly at http://MyFreeTaxes.com.
Understanding your Taxes
Income tax filing can be difficult and full of complicated information. If you have a “simple return” we’d encourage you to try and use free software like http://MyFreeTaxes.com to file your tax return. This self-file software (accessible by selecting the “By myself”) is free for everyone. There are no income limits, no age restrictions, and no geographic limitations. The site will also connect users who need more support to nonprofits who are part of the IRS’ Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program (accessible by clicking on the “With assistance” option).
The IRS website also offers free filing information at https://www.irs.gov/filing/free-file-do-your-federal-taxes-for-free for those whose income was less than $75,000 in 2021.
Check the status of your refund at https://www.irs.gov/refunds. Note: due to COVID and the disruption it has caused, things are taking a little bit longer.
Western students: your 1098-T is mailed to you each year but also available in self-service of MyWestern.
MyFreeTaxes has been provided by United Way for over a decade. Western thanks United Way for partnerships like these that help our community members reach the self-sufficiency that they desire.
Filing Prior Year Taxes
My income is low and I am not required to file taxes. Why would I file anyway?
If you earn below the tax filing threshold, you may not be required to file a tax return. It may still benefit you to submit a tax return. If you are due a refund for withholdings or are eligible to claim tax credits, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit, you risk losing the refund if you do not file.
Earned Income Tax Credit
The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a benefit for working people with low to moderate income. To qualify, you must meet the eligibility requirements and file a tax return, even if you do not owe any taxes or are not required to file. EITC not only reduces the amount of tax you owe; it may give you a refund. In 2019, the average EITC received per tax filer was $2,476. To see if you qualify go to Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) | Internal Revenue Service (irs.gov).
Advance Child Tax Credit Payments
Have you been receiving monthly direct deposits or payments from the IRS? This was part of The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) of 2021 which expanded the Child Tax Credit (CTC) for tax year 2021. These monthly deposits is half of your Child Tax Credit in advance and you can file for the remaining balance when you file your 2021 tax return. You can learn more about the Advance Child Tax Credit at Child Tax Credit Update Portal | Internal Revenue Service (irs.gov).
Other tax credits you may benefit from include:
- American Opportunity Tax Credit for educational tuition
- Homestead Credit on your Wisconsin State return
Other Financial Assistance
- All FEDERAL student loan payments automatically stopped on March 13, 2020. The loans interest rate also dropped to 0%. The Federal Government announced that all loan payments will restart after August 31, 2022. Learn more here.
- Private loans do not qualify, though some lenders may offer options.