You must file tax returns in order to receive any refund, rebate or credit that you might get -- even if you are not required to file federal and state tax returns.

It’s that time of year again! 

Need help?

There are several places where individuals can obtain help -- for free -- to prepare and file tax returns and claim refunds, rebates and credits that they might possibly receive. A list is at the end of this posting.

Who must file a federal or state tax return

• You must file income tax returns if your income during 2012 was above a certain amount. That amount depends on your tax filing status, age and the type of income you received.

• Even if you are do not have to file federal and state tax returns, you need to file tax returns in order to receive any refund, rebate or credit that you might get.

Reasons to file a Federal tax return even when you are not required to file one.

• Federal income tax withheld from your paycheck. You might get a refund if Federal income tax was withheld from your pay in 2012, or if you had a tax refund owed to you in 2011 that you didn’t get.

• Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). EITC is a refundable tax credit primarily for individuals and families who have low to moderate income. The credit is as much as $5891 for 2012, depending on your income and the number of dependent children living with you. If you qualify for this credit, you must file a Federal tax return to receive a refund.

• Additional Child Tax Credit. This refundable credit may be available to you if you have at least one qualifying child and you did not get the full amount of the Child Tax Credit.

• American Opportunity Credit. Students in their first four years of college or other post high school education might qualify for up to $2500 through this credit. Even persons who owe no taxes might get up to $1000 of the credit as cash back by claiming this credit on a Federal tax return.

• Adoption Credit.You may be able to claim a refundable tax credit for certain expenses you paid to adopt an eligible child. Reasons to file a Kansas tax return even when not required to file one.

• Kansas residents claiming an EITC (earned income credit) on their Federal tax return for 2012 can also claim an earned income credit on their Kansas return.

• You might get a refund if state income tax was withheld from your pay in 2012.

• If you are eligible for low-income tax assistance in Kansas: the Kansas Food Sales Tax Refund; the Kansas Homestead Tax Rebate program for low-income home owners and renter; and the SAFE SENIOR – Kansas Property Tax Relief for Low Income Seniors.

TIP: If you don’t know if you might receive a refund, rebate or credit, you can make an appointment to obtain tax advice from the places listed below.

The deadline for filing Federal & state tax returns is Monday, April 15, 2013.

NOTE: If you could have received a refund for tax years before 2011 but did not file tax returns, you might still be able to file a late return if the time to do that has not run out. It is important to look into this quickly to avoid missing any deadlines for the filing of late returns.

April 15 is also the deadline for filing for the: • Kansas Homestead Rebate and • Kansas Food Sales Tax Refund. NOTE: You lose the chance to apply if you miss the deadline.

Places that offer free help with filling out tax forms and applying for Homestead Rebates and Food Sales Tax Refunds.

• All are by appointment only – call to make an appointment.

• All help with Federal and state tax returns. AARP sites do not help with the state return if you have already filed a Federal return, but will help with your state return if you don’t need to file a Federal return.

• All ask you to bring: copies of your 2011 Homestead and Food Sales tax forms; copies of your 2011 state and Federal income tax forms; and your W-2’s from all of your employers during 2012.

• Couples and spouses in the same household should come to the appointment together (both signatures may be needed).

• You may be able to receive a Homestead Tax Credit and/or a Food Sales Tax refund if: your total household income in 2012 was less than $32,400; you were living in Kansas for the entire year; AND you are age 55 or older, or you are disabled or blind, or you had a child in your household under the age of 18 in 2012.

• If you will be getting a refund or rebate, you will receive them sooner if you file electronically.

Andover Senior Center: 410 N. Lioba, Andover, KS (phone: 733-4441) AARP site: Carol Poston. February 4 – April 8, 2012. Call to make an appointment: Appointments are on Mondays, 9am-3pm

Augusta Senior Center: 620 Osage, Augusta, KS (phone: 775-1189) • AARP volunteer: Martha Riedl • Dates: February 7 – April 11, 2012. • Call to make an appointment: Appointments are on Thursdays, 9am-3pm

El Dorado Senior Center: 210 East Second, El Dorado (phone: 321-0142) • AARP volunteer: Martha Riedl. • Dates: February 5 – April 9, 201. • Call to make an appointment: Appointments are on Tuesdays, 9am-3pm

Rose Hill Senior Center: 217 East Silknitter, Rose Hill, KS (phone: 776-0170) • AARP volunteer: Carl Poston • Dates: February 1 – April 10, 2013 • Call to make an appointment: Appointments on Wednesdays, 9am–2pm

United Way of El Dorado: 226 S. Main, El Dorado (phone: 267-1321, ext. 4234) • VITA volunteer: Glenda Thompson • Dates: February 4 – April 12, 2013 • Call to make an appointment: Appointments: Thursdays, 10am – 4 pm

Resource Center for Independent Living (RCIL): 615 1/2 N. Main, El Dorado • By appointment only; call: 316-322-7853 or Toll Free 1-800-960-7853 • Provides help for persons with disabilities who want to learn how to prepare their own tax forms.

Free help getting tax refunds, credits and rebates -- that’s Community Grace!