Many happy returns with free tax prep

In a Peanuts comic, Snoopy wrote to the Internal Revenue Service requesting his subscription be canceled and his name be removed from the mailing list.

Since that's not an option, let's look at ways to get your federal income taxes done for free ahead of the April 15 deadline.

Families earning $52,000 or less can get free tax filing done through the IRS' Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. The United Way is organizing access to the free services in English and Spanish in Broward and Palm Beach counties.

Experts will help low- to moderate-income individuals and families take advantage of more than $6,000 in Earned Income Tax Credits.


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If you qualify and don't claim the credit, you're leaving big money on the table.

Households with no children could get $487. With one child, it's $3,250. Two or more is $5,372, and three or more kids may get $6,044.

Through April 11, the United Way of Broward County's Mobile Resource Center will be rolling around neighborhoods offering free help from accountants and financial advisers on board. Go to UnitedWayBroward.org to see the schedule.

In Palm Beach County, free services are being offered at 13 locations. Go to UnitedWayPBC.org/VITA-sites.

Last year, residents in both counties banked more than $10 million in EITC credits, according to the United Way.

There's free tax filing for individuals and families who made up to $58,000 in 2013, too. Go to MyFreeTaxes.com and search by zip code to find services in South Florida.

Seniors can get help from the AARP's Tax-Aide program. The foundation offers free tax prep to anyone but those 60 and older with low- to moderate-income get special attention. More info at AARP.org/money/taxes.

Finally, all income brackets can file electronically for free at FreeFile.IRS.gov. Choose online software and filing options from companies that have agreed to abide by IRS security and privacy rules.

By the way, 101 years ago this month, the 16th Amendment was ratified, allowing Congress to collect taxes on incomes, in case you want to celebrate.

Snoopy's taking a pass on that one.

What's your deal? Email dchristensen@sunsentinel.com or go to Facebook.com/Doreens Deals.

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