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NV conservation group supports FERC's transmission planning rule; Memorial Day weekend includes Tornadoes and record-high temperatures; A focus on the Farm Bill for Latino Advocacy Week in D.C; and Southeast Alaska is heating homes with its rainfall.

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U.S. Supreme Court allows South Carolina gerrymander that dilutes Black voters, Sen. Ted Cruz refuses to say if he'll accept 2024 election results, and Trump calls Mar-a-Lago search an attempt to have him assassinated.

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Smokey Bear thought only "you" could prevent forest fires, but decomposing mushrooms may also help, a Native American community in Oregon is achieving healthcare sovereignty, and Colorado farmers hope fast-maturing, drought-tolerant seeds will better handle climate change.

Free IRS tool can help Texans file taxes

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Wednesday, April 10, 2024   

CLARIFICATION: In last paragraph, it is estimated that 4 million Texans are eligible to use the Direct File program, not that 4 million will actually use it. (12:32 p.m. MST, Apr. 10, 2024)


If you have waited until the last minute to file your income tax returns, you may want to take advantage of a new program being offered by the IRS, intended to make filing a lot easier.

Texas is one of 12 states participating in the pilot program, known as Direct File, which walks you through the filing process.

Adam Ruben, vice president of campaigns and political strategy for the nonprofit advocacy organization The Economic Security Project, said the free program can save taxpayers time and money.

"It's an interview-based questionnaire, so it's something people can use on their phones, on their computers -- available in English and Spanish -- that asks people questions in pretty much plain language," Ruben explained. "You fill in the answers and it fills in the tax form for you."

Ruben contends Direct File can make the tax preparation market more equitable, inclusive and competitive. By breaking down barriers to filing, it is also eventually expected to deliver up to $12 billion in additional tax credits each year to low-income families currently missing out. You can access the program at DirectFile.IRS.gov.

Following the pilot program, the IRS has said it will use information gathered to expand and improve services.

Shannon Halbrook, director of Invest in Texas, part of the nonprofit Every Texan, said people from all socioeconomic levels can benefit from it.

"It is available to people who have W2 wage income, who have Social Security income, unemployment compensation," Halbrook outlined. "And then, it does enable you to receive certain credits, namely the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit."

He added you can also claim student loan interest deductions and educator expenses. It is estimated 4 million Texans are eligible to use the Direct File program this year, saving $116 million in filing fees.


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