Tax attorney gives advice for doing taxes right, maximizing refunds

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The deadline to file taxes is April 18 and, even for those who have never filed before, experts say this is the year to do it.

That is because there are many benefits at stake, including the Child Tax Credit. Grace Allison – a staff attorney and former director of New Mexico Legal Aid’s Low Income Tax Payer Clinic – says what was paid out in 2021 is only half of what people are entitled to. They need to file again this year to claim the rest.

"We’re talking about, at a minimum, an additional $1,800 for each child under six and an additional $1,500 for each child six and over," Allison said, "but if they don’t file that return, they get zero, zip, zilch."

Allison said one common mistake to avoid is not going to a qualified preparer for help this tax season. A qualified preparer includes an attorney, a CPA or a trained volunteer at a VITA or TCE site where you can get your taxes prepared for free.

The IRS also has certified enrolled agents to help people file their taxes online.

"Don’t assume that every tax preparer is a CPA or that every tax preparer is qualified," Allison warned.

Another common mistake people make when filing their taxes is getting a refund anticipation loan.

"These are unregulated,” Allison said. “They can have interest rates and hidden fees as high as 100%."

Due to the backlog the IRS has – and the complexity of this tax season – Allison said those refund loans could be outstanding for even longer to further rack up interest.

Allison said a third mistake is not reviewing tax forms before signing off on them, to make sure all of the information is complete and correct. She also said to always get a copy of your tax forms – and to make sure you file your taxes before the deadline to avoid penalties.

For more information on filing taxes for 2022, visit this website here.