GREAT FALLS - January 23 marked the start of the 2023 tax filing season and there are going to be some changes this year.
Refunds are looking to be a little bit less than last year, and Great Falls Certified Public Accountant Arlyn Johnson says that the change is coming from the expiration of pandemic-related tax credits.
- RELATED: How to file your taxes for free
“During the pandemic, refunds kind of went up. I’m suspecting that this year, refunds are going to go down and so far, I’ve seen that refunds are smaller.”
The average refund for the last tax season (2021) was almost $3,200 which is a nearly 14% increase from the previous year, according to IRS data.
Many of the tax benefits still exist, but under current tax law, they have reverted to their pre-pandemic levels such as the Child Tax Credit which is reverting to its prior level of $2,000 per child, compared with the pandemic credit that was as high as $3,600 per kid.
“That’s a very significant drop for families,” explained Johnson. “What was originally fairly simple has turned into a credit complicated thing sorting out who gets to claim who, and who gets credits for that.”
It’s important to get started on filing taxes right away to ensure refunds come back quickly.
The Great Falls Senior Center plans to help low- and medium-income community members and senior citizens by hosting free tax service help.
Tax Help Montana — a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program — partnered with Rural Dynamics, a credit counseling service in Great Falls, to offer free walk-in tax preparation services for the 2oth year in a row.
“We just think that there's no reason that people should have to pay to get money that they're already entitled to. We should just be able to give that to them for free,” said volunteer manager Adair Peach.
People that use the service will need to bring all necessary tax paperwork with them and should plan on giving volunteers at least an hour to help them.
For more information about the program and what documents to bring, click here to visit the website.
The filing deadline is April 18, which gives taxpayers an extra three days beyond the typical April 15 because Tax Day falls on a Saturday, while Monday, April 17, is Emancipation Day.
This article was originally published by Tammy Estwick, Alex Livingston, Lindsay Tuchman, Tammy Estwick, Stephanie Sandoval on ScrippsNews.com.