- Earned Income Tax Credit: The EITC is worth a maximum of $6,044, and many who qualify aren't claiming it, Priest says. "In fact, one in five people who could claim the credit don't because they do not know about it or because they don't file their taxes," Priest says. Taxpayers in 22 states may also qualify for a state or local EITC tax break. Check with your tax preparer.
- Free tax preparation and filing: Capital One says it's helping pay for free tax prep for low-income families and small-business entrepreneurs around the nation. If you make less than $57,000 annually, there are already 15 tax preparation services that allow you to file for free. And you can also file for free, no matter what your income level, at at the IRS' website.
- Tax-advantaged retirement savings: Priest advises using tax refunds to "jump-start" a savings plan. Maxing out on an individual retirement account contribution can make a huge difference in your financial future, Priest says. "You have until the very last day to contribute and deduct the amount from your taxable income," she explains. The contribution limit for 2012 is $5,000 if you're 49 or younger and $6,000 if you're 50 or older.
3 Key Tax Time Reminders for Low- and Middle-Class Americans
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