CHICAGO, Jan. 5, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- It is more important than ever to prepare accurate income tax returns during the 2017 tax season. A new law requires the IRS to delay issuing refunds for certain taxpayers claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) until February 15. In fact, the IRS projects that refunds could be further delayed due to banking holidays. The law has no exceptions and is designed to make it easier for the IRS to identify and stop fraud. However, the impact on individuals and families who count on a speedy refund can be problematic and expensive if they fall prey to quick fix solutions.
The Center for Economic Progress (CEP) is one of over 12,000 Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) programs across the country that the IRS relies on to help people file their taxes every year, completely free of charge. In 2016 alone, our 800 IRS certified volunteers helped nearly 20,000 individuals in the Chicagoland area qualify for and keep 100% of their federal and state refunds—over $29 million—without worrying about hidden fees or unexpected charges.
On average, many of our clients receive over thirty percent of their annual income in tax refunds, making accurate completion of their tax returns vital to their financial lives. "For more than 26 years, CEP has helped individuals and families get all of their hard-earned refund to help on necessities, such as paying bills, paying down debt, making new purchases, and saving for a rainy day," said David Marzahl, CEO of the Center for Economic Progress. "We plan to open our 16 community tax sites on January 21, 2017 and are dedicated to ensuring that our taxpayers get all of their refund as soon as the IRS refund delay allows." Starting Feb. 15, the best way to check the status of a refund is with the Where's My Refund? tool on IRS.gov or the IRS2Go Mobile App.
Marzahl adds "don't let people take advantage of you, claiming to be able to get you a quicker refund. High-interest loans and short-term advances on your refund will only cost you in the long run." CEP client 'Shawna,' a Chicago resident and longtime user of CEP's tax preparation services agrees stating "I have been given peace of mind since I started visiting CEP and taking advantage of their tax preparation services" "Taxes are now one less thing that would keep me up at night."
CEP services are available to any family with an income of less than $55,000 per year, and to individuals with an income of less than $30,000 per year. CEP plans to use Progress On the Go, a mobile financial empowerment center to take our free tax prep services to West Cook County during the tax season, and to provide access to our other free financial services all year long.
For more information on the Center for Economic Progress and our expert tax preparation services, visit http://www.economicprogress.org/. Ready to file online and on your own? CEP has partnered with Intuit and the IRS to offer a free online option for filing your tax return yourself for people who qualify. Visit www.economicprogress.org/freefile for details.
SOURCE Center for Economic Progress Chicago