Have you filed your taxes yet? - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Have you filed your taxes yet?

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

Spring is officially here, and that means April 15 ("Tax Day") is just around the corner.

IRS Spokesman Dan Boone has some advice for the estimated 886,000 North Carolinians who will wait until April to file.

1. E-file Your Taxes. It's a fast, easy and accurate way to file, and for most people it's free. The IRS's Free File partnership with several tax software companies allows most filers to prepare and e-file their returns free online. It's only available at www.irs.gov. Extensions are free, too, through IRS Free File, but must be filed by April 15.

2. Don't Miss the Earned Income Tax Credit. Many lower-income workers, including some grandparents raising grandchildren and rural residents, miss out on EITC each year. Even if you couldn't claim EITC on previous tax returns, changes in your income or marital status or having a child may allow you claim it for 2012. If you worked some part of last year and your household income was below $50,270, you may qualify for EITC. Use the EITC Assistant at IRS.gov to find out.

3. Watch Out for Tax Scams. Emails that appear to be from the IRS probably are not. Scammers may go phishing for your private information by alerting you to a nonexistent refund or threatening you with an audit if you don't respond. The IRS never uses email, texts or any social media to initiate contact with taxpayers. Never. Report phishing at IRS.gov. And remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

4. Let Trained Volunteers Do Your Taxes Free. Right around the corner from you there may be a help site where IRS-certified volunteers are preparing and e-filing federal and state tax returns for free. Sites are located in many libraries, churches, malls, senior centers and other community locations. Most sites are less busy now, before the April filing rush. Call 1-800-906-9887 to see if you qualify for the free help and to find the closest site.

5. Check on Your Refund. Check your refund status at IRS.gov using the updated "Where's My Refund?" tool. If you have the free  IRS2Go app, check from your smartphone. But remember, the IRS updates refund status only once each night, so no point in checking more than once a day.

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