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 Initiative?
The Free Tax Preparation Initiative 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 taxpayers from eligible households. Tax prep sites accommodate people with disabilities and interpreting for limited English speakers is available.
Free Tax Prep sites will be open January 26, 2018, to April 17, 2018. Stay tuned for more information about this year's hours and locations.
What is MyFreeTaxes.com?
United Way partners with H&R Block to provide its Premium online tax filing software to help people easily and accurately file their federal and state taxes through MyFreeTaxes if they earned $66,000 or less in 2017. Filers can easily access MyFreeTaxes from their computer or the palm of their hand and can file federal and up to three state returns for free. Visit www.myfreetaxes.com to learn more.
What makes MyFreeTaxes Unique from other Products?
- MyFreeTaxes is the only national online free tax preparation service operated by a nonprofit.
- We offer free customer support available in English and Spanish from IRS-certified specialists. Filers can call us or use the chat box on MyFreeTaxes.com to get assistance from a real person in real time.
- We never offer upsells to the filer.
- MyFreeTaxes provides more forms and guidance than any other free product on the market. The 2017 version of includes beyond basic forms for any complex filing situations. You can view the full list of state and federal forms supported here.
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 the 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 family with children and $281 for a family 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 though 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.”
Invest in the Free Tax Prep Program
Low-wage workers need every penny of their tax refunds and may not realize 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.
Questions about our Free Tax Prep initiative? Email Robin Robinson, Administrator of Initiatives and Grants, or call 315-733-4691, ext. 240.