Worried about taxes during the COVID-19 pandemic? Here is something that can help.

By Claudia Deeg, partner of the CALPIRG Education Fund

April 15 is a date better known as Tax Day – everyone’s least favorite holiday. It is a source of annual stress and dread for many Americans, but this year it is not mandatory.

Because the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has been make a carnage on the U.S. economy, the IRS has extended the tax filing deadline to July 15, 2020.

While this extension has given some breathing space to those of us who have been hardest hit by reduction of hours, loss of employment and other impacts of the outbreak, the deadline is still looming in the not too distant future. The tax return is notoriously complicated, but there are alternatives to going it alone or paying for tax software.

If you qualify for the COVID-19 stimulus check, you probably have benefit from free tax software as well as.

Only a tiny part of the population benefits from this advantage. In fact, the IRS estimates that 70 percent of taxpayers are eligible for the free deposit, but only about 3% actually use it.

Why, you will ask me, so few people use the free option, and why haven’t I heard of it?

This is because many tax software companies have deliberately hidden their free versions from search engines. Last year more 14 million qualified people for free tax software ended up paying it unnecessarily. This is unacceptable, especially now. Low-income Americans shouldn’t have to worry about a financial barrier to filing taxes.

There is several possibilities to prepare your taxes for free, including the IRS Free File. Recent Coronavirus Response Law Also Includes Several News tax credits. If you are entitled to a refund of your taxes, it may be better to drop off earlier instead that later so you can use the refund to pay the bills and other expenses in the meantime.

Remember, although tax preparation is a daunting task, there is help to guide you through the process. As our dear founder Benjamin Franklin said, nothing is certain except death and taxes. Good deposit, friends!

Do I have to make the monthly payments on my student loan? Should i?

By Olivia Sullivan, Partner of the CoPIRG Foundation

“We are experiencing longer than average wait times. Stay tuned, and someone will be with you shortly.

We’ve all heard those words that make your eyes roll. And being stuck on the phone for hours listening to music can be annoying. During this pandemic, call waiting time in banks, airlines and other businesses have been inordinately long because people struggle to get the information they need.

People ask a lot of questions: can I get a reimbursement of my plane ticket? Will i be able Pay my bills?

Recently the question I have in mind is: will I be able to keep up with my student loan repayment in addition to all my other expenses?

Thanks to adoption of the CARES law, payment of all student loans held by the federal government is automatically suspended and no interest will accrue on the loans until at least September 30. Unfortunately, students who hold private loans are not covered. If you are not sure if you are covered by the CARES Law, it is easy to verify.

It took me almost 3 hours and a frustrating phone conversation to cancel and refund a flight, bBut it took me less than 10 minutes to jump online and check the status of my student loans.

For most people with federal student loans, you don’t need to call your loan manager to confirm that you have no payments owed. By logging into your account, you should be able to quickly check two things. First of all, just by visiting the homepage, you should be able to easily tell that your loans are overdue, and no payment is due for the next 7 months. If you had set up automatic payment, it should have been automatically disabled.

Second, by visiting your account details, you should be able to confirm that your loans are listed with an interest rate of 0.000%.

If you can confirm it, you are good to go. Although you are not required to make payments, you can and should keep making your payments, even if they are smaller. Pay while your loans are on automatic forbearance lower your capital, and is beneficial for those who qualify for loan remission of a civil servant.

If a portion of your student loans are paid by your employer, you should ask them if they will continue to pay while your loans are forborne. If for some reason you are unable to confirm that your loans are overdue, or if your interest rates are listed as anything other than 0%, it’s time to find a comfortable chair and some snacks to sit on and call your loan officer. They can provide you with more information on whether you are eligible for loan assistance available under the CARES Act.