Top Five Ways to Increase Your Tax Refund Presented by

Apr 10, 2012, 09:00 ET from United Way Worldwide

WASHINGTON, April 10, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- April 17, the last day to file taxes, is fast approaching. But last-minute filers shouldn't despair. Thanks to funding from the Walmart Foundation, eligible taxpayers across the nation still have time to maximize their tax refunds and file their federal and state taxes online or in person for free through tax filing provider suggests these five ways to maximize your refund, or minimize your payment, if you owe taxes.

  1. Get all the tax credits and deductions you deserve. Did you know you could be leaving money on the table by not filing your taxes? You may be due money back even if you don't owe any taxes. One in five Americans fail to claim the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) each year. Calculate your EITC benefits by visiting For a helpful list of other tax credits and deductions that you may be eligible for visit
  2. Skip the tax preparer and file online or onsite, in-person for free. You'll have to gather all relevant documents and receipts whether you do your taxes yourself or pay a preparer. If you earned below $57,000 in 2011, use to file both your federal and state taxes. provides easy-to-follow directions and saves your work at every step. If you earned less than $50,000 in 2011, you can take advantage of free, in-person Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites through United Way in more than 100 communities nationwide. Enter your zip code on to locate the nearest free filing center.
  3. Avoid late payment penalties. If you owe taxes, you're probably waiting until the last minute to file. Rushing through the process can increase your chances of making a mistake and may cause you to miss out on your highest possible deductions. With only a short time left, prepare your documents now. Check out for a handy checklist to help get your taxes in order.
  4. Keep your receipts. In particular, those having to do with your vehicle (gas, parking, repairs, auto registration), medical expenses, charity donations, and business expenses, especially if you are self-employed or have incomes outside your full-time job. These expenses may reduce your self-employment income, which means you pay less in taxes.
  5. Save your refund for rainy days. Your refund is not a gift from the IRS – it is part of what you earned.  Use it wisely. Get your refund deposited directly into your savings account or use it to order paper bonds. One in four people in the U.S. are unbanked or underbanked and savings bonds can make an ideal refund option.  Series I Savings Bonds have a current 3.06% rate that's better than most savings accounts.

About is committed to providing online and on-the-ground free tax filing and preparation for low- and moderate-income individuals. Powered by the Walmart Foundation, United Way Worldwide, One Economy and National Disability Institute's Real Economic Impact Tour, has experienced a 48-percent increase in total online returns filed so far this year. Find MyFreeTaxes on Facebook and on Twitter @MyFreeTaxes.

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