Reminders during tax season

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As the sun begins to slowly feel warmer and the snow begins to slowly melt, we know that spring is close. Unfortunately that also means that tax filing season is here as well. With that in mind I also just wanted to offer a few helpful reminders.

For those of you with an adjusted gross income of under $58,000, be sure to visit www.irs.gov/efile to prepare your federal tax return and file it at no cost. The IRS has been offering this service since 2003. To begin, taxpayers may visit the IRS website, www.IRS.gov, and click on the “Free File” icon. There you will find a list of Free File Alliance member companies and may either choose the one that fits your needs or utilize the “help me find a company” tool. After selecting a company, you will be transferred to the company’s website to prepare, complete and electronically file their federal income tax returns. Three of the 19 participating software companies also offer services in Spanish.

I would also like to take this opportunity to strongly encourage you to support two funds when filing your state tax return. Be sure to check off the box at the top of the form to support the State Elections Campaign Fund. Checking this box will not increase your tax or reduce your refund. It designates $5 per taxpayer to assure partial public funding for state level campaigns to maximize accountability to voters. Candidates must then agree to expenditure limits and to limit donations from lobbyists and PACs. You can designate your funds for a particular political party or the General Campaign Finance Fund.

If you want increased accountability for your elected officials, and want to limit the influence of special interests and big business, be sure to check that box.

The bottom of your state tax form has a line where you can donate to the Nongame Wildlife Fund. These funds go to improving habitats and supporting conservation efforts focused on non-game wildlife. Unlike the State Elections Campaign Fund check-off, this is a donation and will reduce your refund or add to your tax payment, but is tax deductible for next year.

I understand that many of you are still struggling as the economy slowly recovers, but if you are able, please consider donating to this important fund. Funds like these help keep our wildlife and our beautiful state environment safe.

As always, please feel free to send me your comments, concerns and suggestions. You can reach me by phone at 651-296-4257 or email at rep.phyllis.kahn@house.mn. You can also send mail to my office, room 353 in the State Office Building.