Free tax prep stations opening across Mid-Michigan - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Free tax prep stations opening across Mid-Michigan

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FLINT (WJRT) -

(01/26/12) - The deadline to file your income taxes is still three months away, but the experts say it's never too early.

"You want to take advantage of that because with direct deposit, folks can get their money back in as little as seven business days," said Genesee County Tax Coalition chairman Carlos Cisneros.

The Genesee County Tax Coalition kicks off the season on Saturday with their annual "Show Me the Money" event at Courtland Center Mall in Burton. IRS and credit union reps will be on hand to provide some advice and guidance.

"Hey, if you're getting a $6 or 7,000 federal refund, take some of that money and open up an account. We have some really nice products that can encourage you to save," Cisneros said.

Next week, the Tax Coalition and other agencies will open dozens of preparation sites across Mid-Michigan. Free help is available to any family of four that makes under $50,000, Cisneros said.

"The nice thing is that we are all IRS certified, and required to be certified. We use IRS approved software, so everything is on the up and up," Cisneros said.

Unfortunately, Cisneros anticipates that people will see smaller refund checks this year.

"We're losing the making work pay credit, which last year amounted to $800 per couple for working family. That's gone," he said.

While there aren't any new large credits this year, there's still that familiar big one dangling out there.

"The Earned Income Tax Credit, that's still there. The maximum is $5,751, plus 20 percent of that on the State of Michigan is refundable," Cisneros said.

While refunds are expected to be generally lower this year, the good news is that there are still a ton of smaller tax credits available, ones that are often overlooked, and ones that could provide a big boost to your return.

"Any kind of home improvements they may have made in regards to energy efficiency, any kind of higher education expenses. We don't leave anything on the table," Cisneros said.

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