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Top 3 tax refunds people often forget

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With one week until the tax deadline, both local and federal officials are expecting a rush to get their tax returns in on time.

But one local tax expert says, people that wait the last minute to file tend to miss out on some pretty easy ways to maximize your chances of a refund.

Yvonne Mendoza, a certifying acceptance agent at Block Advisors in West El Paso, said tax returns filed late tend to miss out on refund opportunities through specialized tax credits, home ownership, having children, and retirement accounts.

Retirement accounts bring about a few different ways too maximize your refund potential.

"There's what we call the savers credit," said Mendoza. "There are income limitations to that, but if you put money into a retirement account, you can get money for that and it can be up to 2000 dollars."

Traditional IRAs also provide an avenue for refunds.

"A traditional IRA helps with taxes because it reduces your adjusted gross income. So that's another benefit," said Mendoza.

Home ownership can also provide plenty of tax credits that homeowners tend to miss out on.

"One of the biggest deductions is using your home mortgage paid and property taxes to itemize on your tax return," Mendoza said. "Instead of using the standard deduction, you're able to itemize which brings a better deduction. One of the things there is you get to write off the mortgage interest, the property tax, any mortgage insurance premiums."

And if you're upgrading your home, you can even find tax credits there.

"If you put in refrigerated air, there's a credit for that. If you went solar, there's a credit for that. If you went thermal energy on your water heaters, storm doors, storm windows. There's a lot of credits available for people that want to upgrade their house also," said Mendoza.

And having children can bring in a lot in the way of tax credits.

"The child tax credit gives you $1,000 per child, and if you don't use it all, it becomes a refundable credit," said Mendoza. "One of the things there is a lot of people aren't aware of that."

Once they reach the age for higher education, tax credits can apply to college too.

"One of the things if you've heard is the IRS is checking to make sure you qualify for those credits, and one of them is the education credit," said Mendoza. "Because the American Opportunity credit can give you up to $2,500 back. So there's some awesome credits for those kids your supporting."

Regardless if you're set to get a refund or not, Mendoza also wants the public to know that the tax deadline next Tuesday is at 11 p.m., because Austin falls in the central timezone. So before you file your taxes, make sure you run though the list of available tax credits for you.

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