Moving individuals and families towards financial independence.
United Way, in partnership with The Mohawk Valley Asset Building Coalition, is dedicated to helping low income individuals and families in Oneida and Herkimer Counties become financially self-sufficient by offering free tax preparation services, financial empowerment workshops, and a host of other services.
Having a personal safety net is important and by helping families save money, United Way and partners are offering solutions that move people towards financial independence and a better quality of life.
What is the Free Tax Prep program?
The Free Tax Preparation program offers free tax help to people who generally make $54,000 or less. IRS-certified volunteers provide free basic income tax return preparation with electronic filing for tax payers from eligible households. Tax prep sites accommodate people with disabilities and interpreting for limited English speakers is available.
IRS-certified volunteers provide free basic income tax return preparation with electronic filing to qualified individuals. Individuals in households who generally make $64,000 or less can file their returns for themselves online at MyFreeTaxes.com. MyFreeTaxes provides self-paced, step-by-step guidance to file tax returns online with assistance from IRS certified tax volunteers via hotline or online chat.
Tax sites are now closed for the season. You can still file for free online at www.myfreetaxes.com. Check back soon for updated 2017 tax preparation information.
What is EITC?
At United Way, we fight for many women and men who work hard at low-wage jobs yet can barely make ends meet. They find it nearly impossible to cover even essentials such as food, transportation to and from work, and electric bills. One way we help is by connecting them with the federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). It’s one of our most effective tools to keep people working and help them get a fair shot at a decent life. Just last year, we helped connect 2,552 individuals and families to EITC through MyFreeTaxes.com and the Free Tax Prep program. In total, nearly $11 million was brought back to our community.
Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a refundable federal tax credit for lower income working people that encourages and rewards work, offsetting federal payroll and income taxes. The amount of EITC depends on a recipient’s income, marital status, and number of children. EITC is broadly considered our nation’s most effective pro-work, anti poverty tool. Only those who work are eligible, allowing them to keep more of what they earn to pay for things like transportation to get to work and childcare for their kids. EITC brings back billions of dollars to local communities, supporting local economies.
EITC Fast Facts
Research shows higher EITC refunds are linked to healthier kids, higher scores in school, and higher earnings later in life. In 2013:
- Over 27 million working families and individuals received EITC
- The average EITC was $3,074 for a families with children and $281 for a families without children
- EITC lifted about 6.2 million people out of poverty, including about 3.2 million children
Kim’s Story – Making a difference for workers struggling to make ends meet.
Extensive research has demonstrated that EITC encourages and rewards work, and is particularly successful in raising employment rates among single mothers. This certainly was the case for Kim, a single mother of three children and a full time student. Kim held multiple jobs throughout the year as a childcare provider, cleaning lady, event coordinator, sales clerk, and entrepreneur. But even through all of that hard work, she still struggled to make ends meet and continued to accrue debt. When Kim had her taxes prepared by her local Free Tax Prep site, and she learned she was eligible for EITC. Kim said that “if it were not for EITC, I truly believe I would have lost my home…”. She has since graduated, been able to pay down her debt and start saving, and has one, full-time, stable job— “the best job she’s ever had.”
Investing in the Free Tax Prep Program
Lower-wage workers need every penny of their tax refunds and may not realize that they do not have to pay fees that drain money away from their refunds By investing in our community through the Free Tax Prep program, you will make a tremendous difference in helping hard-working individuals and families move towards financial self-sufficiency.
Make a gift to support the Free Tax Program.
Make a gift to support the Free Tax Program.
Questions about our Free Tax Prep initiative? Email Robin Robinson, Administrator of Initiatives & Grants, or call 315-733-4691, ext. 240.