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Keep Calm and Prep for Tax Season Early On

February 1, 2019

(Disclosure: We are always looking for products or services that we think our users will value. Earnin may receive compensation from some of the offers that appear.)

Tax season has officially arrived. Though it can be stressful, there is a light at the end of the tunnel: a sweet, sweet refund. Most Americans will get a refund, and refunds can go to a variety of things - some people use it to fund a big-ticket item, some to pay down debt, some to save.

No matter what you are planning, getting started sooner rather than later can be a lifesaver, especially if you plan to fill out taxes yourself. There are pros and cons to this, of course, and there’s also the option of hiring a tax expert, but it can cost hundreds of dollars.

If neither of those options sounds appealing, don’t worry, there might be something better —

The VITA Program (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance)

If your household makes less than $55,000 a year, you may qualify for VITA. Here’s how it works — volunteers are trained and certified by the IRS to help you get your maximum federal and state refund for free.

All you have to do is dial 2-1-1 for more info or click here to find a location near you. Remember to bring your Social Security card, ID, W-2, other tax forms (like 1099’s), and proof of childcare or tuition costs (if you have them).

EITC (Earned Income Tax Credit)

EITC is one of the most lucrative tax credits available. If you make less than $55,000 a year, you may qualify for Earned Income Tax Credit (which can be worth up to $6,000).

Here’s an IRS chart to check if you might be eligible (based on income and children):

IRS chart

(Note: Be sure to inform your tax preparer if you qualify.)

File Taxes Online for Free

Do you make $66,000 or less? If yes, then you may be eligible to file your taxes for free online through a United Way and H&R Block partnership. To get started, click “Login” at MyFreeTaxes.com.

The site is powered by H&R Block’s premium software to make filing quick, accurate, and safe.

Abby from Cincinnati, Ohio told Earnin that she found H&R Block “to be quite easy and very user-friendly. There were multiple spots that explained terms that might be unfamiliar,” she said. “It was very thorough and made sure you got the most money back for your return.”

But the best part for Abby was how quick and simple it was to file both state and federal taxes at the same time, and the return was processed very quickly.

Are There Any Other Free Options?

Yes. For those Americans who make above $66,000 a year or who do not qualify for either of these services, filing your taxes with Credit Karma is completely free (both federal and state, simple and complex returns are all free).

Chris from Michigan is a Credit Karma user and told Earnin that he’s used the service for the last two years because it was super easy. “I was done with my simple return in 25 minutes last year. They also let me efile everything including state for free. And, I had my refund in four weeks!" he said.

Filing taxes can be daunting but just remember to get started early and make the most of these services.

Happy tax season, Earnin family!

1Restrictions and/or third party fees may apply,, see Earnin.com/TOS for details.

2Disclaimer: Balance Shield cash out is subject to your available earnings and daily pay period max. Other restrictions and/or third party fees may apply. For more information visit Earnin.com/TOS.

3NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. Must be 18 years of age or older and a legal resident of the U.S. or DC. Games begin each Sunday starting 12/6/20 at 9:01 p.m. ET and end the following Monday at 9:00 p.m. ET with the last Game ending 12/19/21. To download the App, view the Official Rules, odds disclosures, prize details, and alternate means of entry, visit https://www.earnin.com/wewin/. Void where prohibited. $10,000,000 grand prize payable over 29 years. Sponsor: Activehours, Inc. (d/b/a Earnin), 200 Portage Ave, Palo Alto, CA 94306.

4Disclaimer: Up to 2 days early is based on comparison with traditional banks. Exact timing is dependent on your employer's payroll policies. For more information on eligibility and requirements of Earnin Express, visit Earnin.com/TOS.

5Source: Internal analysis conducted by Earnin on December 10, 2020.

1Restrictions on use of Services and/or third party fees may apply, see Earnin.com/TOS for details.

2Balance Shield cash out is subject to your available earnings and daily pay period max. Other restrictions and/or third party fees may apply. For more information visit Earnin.com/TOS.

3Tip Yourself Account funds are held with Evolve Bank & Trust, Member FDIC and FDIC insured up to $250,000. Tip Yourself is a 0% APY and $0 monthly fee service. Other restrictions and/or third party fees may apply, see Earnin.com/TOS for details.

1Lightning Speed may not be available to all Community Members. Cash Outs may take up to thirty minutes, actual transfer speeds will depend on your bank connection. Restrictions and/or third party fees may apply, see Earnin.com/TOS for details.

2Restrictions and/or third party fees may apply, see Earnin.com/TOS for details.

3Balance Shield cash out is subject to your available earnings and your daily pay period max. Other restrictions and/or third party fees may apply, see Earnin.com/TOS for details.

4NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. Must be 18 years of age or older and a legal resident of the U.S. or DC. Games begin each Sunday starting 12/6/20 at 9:01 p.m. ET and end the following Monday at 9:00 p.m. ET with the last Game ending 12/19/21. To download the App, view the Official Rules, odds disclosures, prize details, and alternate means of entry, visit WeWin Game & Sweepstakes Official Rules. Void where prohibited. $10,000,000 grand prize payable over 29 years. Sponsor: Activehours, Inc. (d/b/a Earnin), 200 Portage Ave, Palo Alto, CA 94306.

5Tip Yourself Account funds are held with Evolve Bank & Trust, Member FDIC and FDIC insured up to $250,000. Tip Yourself is a 0% Annual Percentage Yield and $0 monthly fee service. Your Tip Yourself Account and any Tip Jars are not Savings Accounts. For more information/details visit Earnin.com/TOS.

6Up to two days early is based on comparison with traditional banks. Exact timing is dependent on your employer’s payroll policies. For more information on eligibility and requirements of Earnin Express, visit Earnin.com/TOS.

7Your Max on Earnin Express is up to 80% of your payroll or $1000, whichever is less. The 80% is dependent on you routing your full paycheck to Earnin Express. For more information on eligibility and requirements of Earnin Express, visit Earnin.com/TOS.

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1Disclaimer: Restrictions and/or third party fees may apply, see Earnin.com/TOS for more details. Lightning Speed may not be available to all Community Members. Cash Outs may take up to thirty minutes, actual transfer speeds will depend on your bank connection.

2Disclaimer: Lightning Speed may not be available to all Community Members. Cash Outs may take up to thirty minutes, actual transfer speeds will depend on your bank connection. Restrictions and/or third party fees may apply, see Earnin.com/TOS for details

3Disclaimer: Community Member must have had at least 1 successful debit with Earnin. Limit to 1 Max Boost per pay period. A boost will not adjust a Community member's daily max. Restrictions may apply, see Earnin.com/TOS for more details

*Disclaimer: Balance Shield Cash Out is subject to your available earnings and daily pay period max.Other restrictions and/or thirdparty fees may apply. For more information visit Earnin.com/TOS

1Restrictions may apply, see Earnin.com/TOS for more details. Tip Yourself Account funds are held with Evolve Bank & Trust, member FDIC and FDIC insured up to $250,000. Tip Yourself is a 0% Annual Percentage Yield and $0 monthly fee service. Your Tip Yourself Account and any Tip Jars are not Savings Accounts. For more information/details visit Earnin.com/TOS

2Disclaimer: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. Must be 18 years of age or older and a legal resident of the U.S. or DC. Games begin each Sunday starting 12/6/20 at 9:01 p.m. ET and end the following Monday at 9:00 p.m. ET with the last Game ending 12/19/21. To download the App, view the Official Rules, odds disclosures, prize details, and alternate means of entry, visit https://www.Earnin.com/wewin/game-rules/. Void where prohibited. $10,000,000 grand prize payable over 29 years. Sponsor: Activehours, Inc. (d/b/a Earnin), 200 Portage Ave, Palo Alto, CA 94306.

3Disclaimer: Restrictions Apply. See Earnin.com/wewin/pool-rules/ for more information

*Disclaimer: Up to 2 days early is based on comparison with traditional banks. Exact timing is dependent on your employer's payroll policies. For more information on eligibility and requirements of Earnin Express, visit Earnin.com/TOS.

**Disclaimer: Restrictions and/or third party fees may apply, see Earnin.com/TOS for more details. Lightning Speed may not be available to all Community Members. Cash Outs may take up to thirty minutes, actual transfer speeds will depend on your bank connection.

*Survey conducted in February 2020 with 889 participants.

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