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Filing Taxes -
Top Things You Need to Know

National Tax Advice DayIf you're filing taxes this year, families in particular shouldn't t overlook major deductions they may be eligible for:

The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) - Millions of low- and moderate-income families are eligible but don't claim the EITC, which is worth an average of about $1,760. As many as 25 percent of those eligible - or about 7.3 million taxpayers last year alone - failed to claim it, according to government figures. Many working families fail to claim the EITC due to a lack of awareness or the complexity of the eligibility requirements and tax forms.

Education-related tax benefits - Millions of Americans don't maximize their
education-related tax benefits, in part, because it can be a complicated process. Nearly
27 percent of eligible taxpayers - 4.1 million people - fail to claim education tax benefits, according to a recent government report. Evaluating which education tax break provides the greatest savings - the lifetime learning credit, the Hope credit, and the tuition and fees deduction - can be difficult because of phase-out provisions and varying eligibility guidelines.

Additional helpful tips:

Start early. The earlier you get organized, seek advice, and get your taxes filed, the less likely you will be to miss tax benefits because your rushing and the sooner you will get your money back.

Get organized. Start the new tax year off right by developing a simple record keeping system. Use the previous year's tax return as a reference to determine file categories and make certain you keep separate files for personal and business taxes. Having complete tax records will ensure you claim the deductions and credits to which you're entitled and help you avoid penalties and interest on unreported income.

Seek professional advice. Today, taxpayers must wade through 131 pages of instructions for a Form 1040 - over triple the number in 1975 and more than double the number in 1985.

Source: H&R Block

H&R Block is a leading provider of tax, financial, mortgage, accounting and business consulting services and products.

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