Due to COVID-19 health and safety concerns, Coulee Region Tax Assistance program will not be in operation for the 2021 tax filing season. We hope to provide support and services for the 2022 tax filing services. Revisit this page for more information as that year approaches.
Income Tax Filing can be difficult. Let us help you understand some of the complicated information.
Filing 2020 Taxes
If you have a “simple return” we’d encourage you to try and use http://MyFreeTaxes.com for free to file your tax return while getting the assistance you need. 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 filing their return to nonprofits who are part of the IRS’ Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program (accessible by clicking on the “With assistance” option).
The Earned Income Tax Credit, given to low-income households, is free money you may qualify for and need. (See below for more information.) The IRS anticipates submitted returns receiving the Earned Income Tax Credit or the Additional Child Tax Credit and using direct deposit to be released the first week of March.
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 2020.
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 this year.
Western students: your 1098-T was mailed to you but it is 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
It is not too late to file your tax returns for 2018, 2019, and 2020. Many of the self-filing options listed above only file current year returns. If you are needing to file previous year taxes, visit getyourrefund.org or seek out a registered tax preparer.
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.
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.
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
Advance Child Tax Credit Payments
The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) of 2021 expands the Child Tax Credit (CTC) for tax year 2021 only. The changes include:
- The credit amount will increase for many taxpayers
- The credit for qualifying children is fully refundable, which means taxpayers may be able to receive the full amount even if they don’t have earned income or owe taxes.
- Taxpayers may receive part of their credit in 2021 before filing their 2021 tax return.
COVID-19 Economic Impact (Stimulus) – First Payment
If you did not receive the first stimulus payment of $1,200 ($2,400 if married filing jointly for 2020) plus $500 for each qualifying child you had in 2020, you may be able to receive a Recovery Rebate Credit. If eligible, you can claim the Recover Rebate Credit on 2020 Form 1040 or 1040-SR.
COVID-19 Economic Impact Payment (Stimulus) – Second Payment
- Processing began during the last week in December 2020.
- Direct Deposits will be made first. Mailed payments will follow. Some payments will be sent in the form of a prepaid debit card.
- To check the status of your Second Economic Impact Payment, visit Get My Payment.
- You do not need to include any information about these payments when you file taxes.
- If you didn’t receive a payment or only received a partial payment, you may be eligible to claim the Recovery Rebate Credit when you file your taxes.
- For information about the second stimulus payment visit here.
- All FEDERAL student loan payments will automatically stop from March 13, 2020, through September 30, 2021. The loans interest rate will also drop to 0%. Learn more here.
- Private loans do not qualify, though some lenders may offer options.