Now is the time to file your federal tax return for 2020. If you earned $56,844 or less last year, you can claim the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) on your return to reduce the amount you owe or get a nice refund. Even better, a certified tax preparer can help you claim EITC for free at an IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA).

There are eight free VITA sites now open across Philadelphia. You can find a site and schedule an appointment. Due to COVID-19, some sites may be working remotely.

The average EITC return in Philadelphia is $2,500. But depending on your 2020 income and household size, your federal refund could be as much as $6,660 this year. To estimate how much your refund could be worth, visit

Get your unclaimed stimulus payment

If you were eligible for the first or second Economic Impact (stimulus) Payment, but didn’t receive the full amount or any amount, you could be eligible for the Recovery Rebate Credit. To receive this, you must file a 2020 income tax return with the IRS, even if you don’t normally file.

Get it for free

It’s tempting to use a private tax prep office that promises a fast refund. However, a fast refund is really just a loan — and a loan that can be costly. It often comes with a high fee and interest.

Why pay for tax prep when you can get it for free? If you qualify for EITC, a VITA site ensures you keep 100 percent of your refund.

Tax preparers at the free sites are IRS-certified. They have already helped thousands of taxpayers like you claim EITC. They can also help you file or amend returns to claim refunds for 2017, 2018, and 2019.

Whether your refund is a few hundred dollars or thousands, you’ve earned it – and you should get to keep it ALL. Don’t let it go in the pockets of companies that charge you fees and interest.