Through the "Mississippi Free File Alliance", you can get on the Mississippi State Tax Commission's web site, and get access to software companies that offer free tax preparation. Several companies on the site also offer the service for a fee.
You are eligible as long as you meet any of these requirements:
- You qualify for federal Earned Income Tax Credit.
- You are in the military.
- Or your adjusted gross income is $28,500 or less.
The state Tax Commission says half of Mississippians qualify for this service.
"One of the biggest advantages of electronic filing is you're able to get your refund back in 7 to 10 days, in most cases, and that is a wonderful advantage," said Mississippi Tax Commission spokeswoman Kathy Waterbury. "Besides that, it walks you through the form. It helps you prevent errors. It helps you think about things that you may not have known about that was available to you, that would reduce your tax burden."
Here's another reminder: Both the federal government and Mississippi have granted an automatic extension to file returns this year for taxpayers in Hancock, Harrison and Jackson Counties. The new deadline is August 28th.
Taxpayers outside those three counties must identify themselves by writing "Hurricane Katrina" at the top of their return. Remember to use RED ink for federal forms, and BLUE or BLACK ink for state forms.