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Kara Kempski, Outreach Intern

My Take

8 Last Minute Tax Tips

Posted by Kara Kempski, Outreach Intern | Posted on: April 03, 2013 at 03:05 pm

This post is the seventh in a series of weekly posts containing tax information and filing tips. Check back next week for our next post, or click here to read past posts. 

Tax Day is right around the corner! If you haven’t filed your taxes yet, here are the top 8 things you should know before April 15.

1. You may be eligible to have your taxes done for free.

If you make less than $51,000 a year, you may be eligible to have your taxes filed for free through an IRS-sponsored Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites. http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/Free-Tax-Return-Preparation-for-You-by-Volunteers

If you are over age 59, you may also be eligible, even if you earn a moderate income. The IRS-sponsored Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) and the AARP-sponsored Tax-Aide sites both offer free tax services to individuals 60 years of age or older. For more information, check out this article.

2. Where to find a free tax service preparation center near you.

To find out where you can go to get free help with your taxes at IRS sponsored sites, go to http://irs.treasury.gov/freetaxprep/ or call the IRS toll-free at (800) 906-9887. This website will also tell you if the site needs an appointment or accepts walk-ins, so you can plan your visit.

For Tax-Aide sites, go to: www.aarp.org/money/taxes/aarp_taxaide/ or call 1-888-OUR-AARP.

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Calling All Tax Credit Stories!

Posted by Kara Kempski, Outreach Intern | Posted on: March 26, 2013 at 10:50 am

This post is the sixth in a series of weekly posts containing tax information and filing tips. Check back next week for our next post, or click here to read past posts. 

Taxes. Just saying the word can make people groan. But the reality is, this time of year can actually bring good news to low- and moderate-income families all over the country. Federal tax credits such as the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit (worth up to $2,100), the Child Tax Credit (worth up to $1,000 per child), and the Earned Income Tax Credit (worth up to $5,891), can give a boost to families whose incomes are too low to owe taxes. 

One family in Dallas took advantage of free tax preparation at a United Way VITA site and was rewarded for their effort. They qualified for the federal EITC and received nearly a $6,000 refund! Less than two weeks later, the refund was in the family's bank account and helped to pay for things that the family really needed: children's clothes, a crib, and a new car. 

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What College Athletics Taught Me Beyond a Hollywood Ending

Posted by Kara Kempski, Outreach Intern | Posted on: February 06, 2013 at 04:34 pm

When I was 8 years old and Title IX was 24, I told my parents that I wanted to play softball in college. From that point on, I was unshakeable in my pursuit. I played on school teams, little league teams, all-star teams, and travel teams. I went to camps, clinics, practiced in my garage, and soaked up the great sports movies of my childhood—Sandlot, Rudy, the Mighty Ducks—all the ones where the heroes win in the end, as heroes should. I couldn’t get enough of it.

Playing college softball

It doesn’t surprise me to hear that high school athletes are far less likely to participate in drugs or sexually risky behavior and that they typically have higher grades. My drive to succeed and become better was simply more intriguing than any high school scandal and I had coaches who insisted on high academic standards. I worked hard and was lucky enough that my dream came true: I was recruited all over the country to play the sport I loved.

On my first day of NCAA practice, my coach called us over to give what I assumed would be a welcome speech. He said, “You need to recognize that everyone in this league is at least as good as you. Many are better. So we need to work hard enough to overcome that.”

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